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Tuesday, August 01, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor's Wife Charged With Assault

Calls into the 911 Newport Arkansas Dispatch describe what happened with a pastor’s wife during church.

Dispatch: (Phone rings) "911 Emergency Services."

Caller: "I'm up here at the Pentecostal Church on Dill Street behind USA Drugs. There's a woman up here who’s got a gun."

Dispatch: "A gun...all right, we'll send an officer."

And with that, Newport police arrived at the Pentecostal Church of God for what was anything but your typical church service.

Church member Buddy Sherman explains, "We were all right here [pointing to the front pew]. Our pastor stood back there [pointing to the pulpit] and she was standing right here [pointing to the front of the pews]. She never intended any harm on nobody."

That's how Sherman describes Pastor Larry Estes' wife, 44-year-old Tammy Estes.

According to Sherman, Tammy stood up, with a .357 magnum in her hand and confronted her husband.

“She wanted the truth to get out, what she thought was the truth," he says.

Newport Police Chief Michael Scudder says, “It's one of the most powerful handguns in the world. Of course, it got our attention and we were hoping she wouldn't use it."

According to some witnesses, it wasn't a hostage situation at all.

While, 60 or so church members were making their way out, some stayed behind on their own will to comfort Tammy.

Sherman continues, “She never intended to use it. She told us she loved us and she just had some things she wanted heard."

The incident stems from several text messages on the pastor's cell phone received from one young female church member. During the entire time, church members say they weren't concerned for their safety.

Longtime church member Brenda Wilson says, “She used her [gun] last night as a security blanket for herself. She had it in her hand, she never held us up."

Now, Estes remains behind bars awaiting a mental evaluation. Church members say they stand behind the couple.

Wilson says, “They’re our pastor and we love them, both of them. And whatever problems they've got, we've all got our own problems too and they're no different than we are."

Tammy Estes has been charged with aggravated assault. Her bond is set at $2,500.