A Maryville man was arrested Sunday evening after he allegedly entered a Maryville church armed with a knife, cursed at congregants and claimed to be both God and the devil.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested James Ryan Johnson Jr., 29, Lee Shirley Road, on six counts of aggravated assault and a count each of disorderly conduct and criminal impersonation.
Johnson was being held in lieu of bonds totaling $180,000 pending a 9 a.m. hearing today in Blount County General Sessions Court.
Deputies were called to Greenback House of Prayer, 7015 Russell Road, Maryville, at around 5:45 p.m. Sunday to a disturbance involving a man who entered the church during services and began cursing at congregants while armed with a knife, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
One of the alleged victims told deputies the suspect, who was believed to be Johnson, appeared to be on methamphetamine. The suspect reportedly entered through the back of the church.
The church’s pastor told deputies the man talked about hating everyone, then said he loved everyone, according to the report. The man then allegedly said he was the devil and threatened to cut the pastor’s throat.
The pastor said he told the man the devil wasn’t allowed in the church. The man then reportedly left, dropping his knife in the parking lot.
Deputies said about 25 people were in the church meeting area, which is about 18 feet by 18 feet, at the time of the incident.
Deputies said they performed a K-9 track of the immediate area and located Johnson, who resides on nearby Lee Shirley Road.
Deputies said Johnson provided a false name when he was questioned. He was arrested and taken to the Blount County Jail. Deputies said an orange-handled knife was recovered at the scene.