“I said, ‘Alright, alright, alright,' pretty much stating that I'm not going to do anything because I know you're coming for me. You're coming straight to me. I don't want my parishioners hurt. I've got women and children there,” said Whitehead.
“As I got down, one went to my wife and took all her jewelry and had the gun in front of my 8-month-old baby's face. Took off my bishop's ring, my wedding band, and took off my bishop's chain, and then I had chains underneath my robe and he started tapping my neck to see if anything else. So that means they knew. They watched, and they knew that I have other jewelry,” he explained.
Whitehead said congregants have been traumatized by the incident. The New York police said they received a report that the suspects took more than $1 million worth of jewelry and then fled the location on foot. They reportedly then entered a white Mercedes-Benz vehicle and were seen traveling eastbound on Avenue D, police said.
“No one in this city should be the victim of armed robbery, let alone our faith leaders and congregants worshiping in a House of God. The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice,” Eric Adams, the former Brooklyn Borough President and current mayor of New York, said.
Whitehead encouraged those responsible to turn themselves in to police, adding, “I forgive you and I'm praying for you, you know, and I hope that God delivers you from the mindset of who you are at this time.”
In a video on Sunday night, he also pushed back against the media headlines referring to him as “flashy.”
“It's not about me being flashy. It's about me purchasing what I want to purchase,” he said. “It's my prerogative to purchase what I want to purchase. If I worked hard for it, I can purchase what I want to purchase.”