Local pastors are coming together to provide whatever support they can to Pastor Ivan Pitts of Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana, who was stabbed seven times in the driveway of his Long Beach home. Pitts, who was struck twice in the eye, four times in the back and once in the neck, spent several days in the hospital and is now recovering in a rehab facility.
Like most in the faith community, Pastor Welton Pleasant was shocked by the news.
“I was relieved to find out that he would survive and was able to speak with him. He’s in excellent spirits,” said Pleasant, who has known Pitts for more than a decade. “He’s making good progress, but many of us want to do something to support our brother to let him know that we’re with him. So, we’re raising money to deal with any unexpected needs he may have to deal with”.
Pitts had just returned home when he was approached by a stranger who asked if he could ask him a question. Just as Pitts acknowledged the man, he began stabbing him. Pitts was able to run to a nearby construction site for help and those workers snapped a picture of the man’s license plate. The man—believed to have mental issues—was later apprehended by police.
“For me the incident spoke a deeper issue that our society has ignored…the issue of mental health that is pervasive in this country. It’s really at the church’s front door because two years ago I was attacked in my pulpit by a mentally ill person,” recalled Pleasant who is a third degree black belt and was able to repel his attacker.
“We have people in our congregation wrestling with mental illness there has been a stigma in the black community. Now, with this, it’s time to talk about so we’re hoping to have a rally in the near future to bring awareness around the issue of mental illness.”