John Baldwin is accused by police of firing 19 rounds at a group of Witnesses
John Baldwin is accused by police of firing 19 rounds at a group of Witnesses

Police arrested an Arkansas man over the weekend after he allegedly fired 19 rounds at a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were in the process of leaving his property.

35-year-old homeowner John Baldwin is believed to be a relative newcomer to the rural community in Centerton, with neighbors saying he moved into his home less than a month ago.

The local congregation in Bentonville has declined to be interviewed on camera about the incident to avoid making the situation worse.

It is reported that soon after three Witnesses called at Baldwin’s home he became agitated and told them to get off his property. Not content that they were complying with his wishes, he allegedly said “get me my nine” before firing multiple rounds at the group’s vehicle as it was leaving down the driveway. Mercifully, no one was injured.

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Baldwin was soon arrested, with “seven or eight cop cars” arriving at the scene according to neighbor Kristi Tidwell. “It seems like there’s no reason to do anything like that. If they left peaceably then why not leave them alone?” she said.

Now released on a $50,000 bond, it is reported that Baldwin will be charged with felony aggravated assault. If convicted, he faces a $10,000 fine and six years in jail.

A close call, and a sobering reminder

It is a huge relief to hear that all the Witnesses involved in this ordeal are safe, and that their assailant is facing justice. Even so, this incident does raise questions as to the inherent risks involved in calling at people’s homes unannounced.

It was only six months earlier that two Witness women were mauled by a pitbull while engaging in the door-to-door preaching work in Tulsa. Both were left seriously injured, and are arguably only alive today thanks to the timely intervention of an alert neighbor who came to their rescue and shot the animal.

Representatives of Bentonville congregation reminded reporters investigating the Baldwin shooting of their “do not call” policy. This arrangement is essentially an opt-out for members of the public who don’t want Witnesses to call on them again. But this policy offered no protection in this instance, where peaceful Witnesses calling on a new resident were faced with the sort of maniac who would shoot at unarmed fleeing Witnesses who were complying with his instructions.

The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses call unannounced as part of their preaching work is well known, and is the subject of countless jokes and cartoons. But it does present a serious occupational hazard that neither the Watch Tower Society nor ordinary Witnesses seem willing to acknowledge. The above mentioned cases serve as sobering reminders that these days there is no way of knowing who or what Witnesses will be confronted with once they ring that doorbell.


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27 thoughts on “Arkansas man accused of firing 19 rounds at Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • October 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Wow our friends really do face so many risks. A brother walking up a drive way was run down my the homeowner in a rush coming out of the garage and the brother died of the injuries and no blood transfusion. Another sister I know had a gun pointed at her head. My parents were preaching in rural territories eating lunch in the jungle in our home country when the army told them to leave since they were about to get into a shoot out with guerilla fighters and it started 10 minutes after they all left, however a young brother was killed in that incident a stray bullet hit him in the head. New methods of preaching should be used taking the friends safety into consideration. I know i went knocking on doors in very very bad neighborhoods and I’ve had prostitutes answer the door as well as drug dealers and some naked people.

    C M

  • October 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    And just think last months KM encouraged witnesses to preach alone without a partner, all be it against Jesus own preaching instructions.

  • October 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    This is becoming a very serious issue as the Wt Soc pushes its tried and true full-time ministers to enter “least-worked territories” which are often high-risk or may be sanctuaries and hideouts for race-supremacists, militants and other fringe survivalists who have their hands on the trigger for other races and any one “trespassing”. Additionally, many depressed neighborhoods present the threat, as noted, of pit-bulls roaming loose and unleashed. Pit bulls are not by breed a danger, but unleashed dogs are an “unknown” regardless of breed and pit bulls present a life-threat.

  • October 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Seriously, it encourages going door-to-door by yourself? I skimmed through the last couple months’ KMs and didn’t see this. Can you tell me where this is?

  • October 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Sept 16, 2013 KM

    10 min: When You Are Working Alone. Discussion. (1) When we preach without a partner, what will help us to maintain joy? (2) What cautions are in order when making return visits alone? (3) If no one usually meets for field service on the days that we share in the ministry, how can we encourage others in the congregation to join us? (4) What are the advantages of purposely working alone on occasion whenever and wherever it is safe to do so?

  • October 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Where I live, people say “sisters” preaching alone are sometimes subject to raped and that when they report that to elders, they leave it in “Jehovah’s hand”!! Everything is to be left in “Jehovah’s hand”!

  • October 2, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Its exactly this kind of thing that makes me feel sick every time my wife is forced out with another girl to go inside apartment blocks and knock on doors!! Jesus instructed dudes to travel from city to city and preach in the open and synagogues.. horrible cult! I really hope that they come out with some new BS ‘light’ that will just go too far and my wife will wake up.

  • October 2, 2013 at 4:37 am

    I remember back when I unfortunately was forced to be a part of this religion. I was a teenager forced to participate in the door to door activity. My elderly grandmother and I were assigned to work a notoriously dangerous territory. We were sent there ALONE. Fortunately after a few minutes walking my grandmother had the good sense to leave the area. The intelligence of these men assigning car groups is to be seriously questioned. They (JWs) really need to quit to intruding on people’s time and property. Enough already

  • October 2, 2013 at 6:15 am

    maybe is time for those annoying people to stop bothering people with their nonsense with the bible, an outdated book, when there are so many millions of books out there far more interesting and relevant to a human society to read and enjoy. Of course, I do not agreed with shooting them, just slam the door on their faces will do!!!

  • October 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I am shocked that they are encouraging calling on homes solo. I already worry about my Mum calling on folks as it is.

    I hope that the witnesses involved in the incident are ok. With the GB’s much vaunted belief in “modern technology”, there will surely be less need to call door to door in the future?

    They put my mum on one of those stands that are springing up in town centres. I should imagine that they are the future. Much less reliant on manpower with their continuing decline in numbers.

  • October 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I remember one day when engaging in what was called “united efforts” (normally when the circuit servant came to visit) we were working in a rough area. There were around 25 of us in the assigned territory and I was left to work a street on my own for over an hour. I really did feel very nervous. Irronically I has a number of good chats and placed quite a lot of wt & awakes :) I felt somewhat annoyed that I was left on my own for so long though. The elder said that it was good preparation for when the persecution arrives and we may have to work by ourselves so as not to be noticed!

  • October 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    …. Never post comments using an iPad! The spellcheck is infuriating! ( I has a number of good chats should have been HAD!) ;)

    • October 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      A little sad that this item made it a day before a tragic church bus accident here in USA, but something else to add. Way back in the day, JW’s (and some continue this attitude in present) felt that Jehovah is My Stronghold (song) would grant the same protection as Daniel’s protection in the fiery furnace. No harm will befall my servant; yea, though I walk through the valley…etc, etc. Today, we know it was just the state of the overall social attitudes toward religion, which still held some respect until the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s thoroughly revealed what a money-making business ALL religions were. Add, child molestations, investment scams [and, JW’s have had some, too], the inability of JW elders to cope with any “wrongdoing” beyond personal confessions or circumstantial, and boldness of criminals in entering churches to rob, harm and protest, and JW’s are at risk. The risk has risen to level that in many major population centers, church buildings have armed security stationed at doors and exits–some have metal detectors and security scanning lanes.

      You didn’t need to be a Witness to see the decline of civility coming nor include it in apocalyptic foresight, but it does but target on the JW who may be naive and assuming of some divine protection in witnessing. We already have seen that JW’s take risks with their precious gift of life banking on Paradise and resurrection. Life is a one-time event–even if one has a promise of resurrection, the context will be different and the experiences differ.

  • October 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Thank God, no one was injured. What a sicko. Does he not realize he is furthering their cause, and strengthening their resolve to preach more, and preach more fervently? What an idiot.

    Seriously, they need to reevaluate their preaching techniques. Find some other way to keep them busy.

  • October 3, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Lots are waking up everyday, there is hope my dear friend
    Warm regards

  • October 4, 2013 at 5:56 am

    All you need to do is put up a “No Trespassing” sign.

    Then they won’t go to the door. They will just write you a letter if there is a mailbox and address.

    • October 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      BeenMislead that assumes the householders will be playing by your rules–“No Trespassing” signs and “Private, Keep Out”–in plain sight with locked gates and borders. After the fact, the householder can move signs, drag your body over a line, whatever. Some nervous householders may deliver a scenario like we saw in news recently where an injured man stumbled up to a house, the householder called 9-1-1, then police officers ordered “suspect” to halt, shot and killed. All they need is “the wrong kind of people” (profiling) in my ‘backyard’.

      What street-savvy meth-cooker puts up a sign in the rural outback–“Meth Lab, Strangers Stay Away”?

  • October 25, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Well, I would like everyone to know that not how many months after the encounter at my door where the Society sent someone who went to the office of my apartment complex looking for my apartment number but not me by name. I have already warned them publicly on not to seek me out so he stated to the office staff that I “was his father” but they refused to provide him any information. He eventually found my apartment anyway and decided he was looking for someone else! It was not coincidence considering events preceding and following but I had my apartment invaded this weekend and only one item taken from my bathroom sink. My jewelry box containing a moderate value of jewelry even though my android was inches away and all other valuables were there in my apartment. I filed a police report and again to the incompetent, Obmaite FBI and asked them to remove the half completed but rejected Resume from 2010 that the Society pulled via SOS/spike/TPMP/Chrystal Cassandra/ Jackie and about 20 different names and accounts used on by a particular operative from a secured and restricted site. I also told them that “if I ended up killing one of these animals in my own home or beating them senseless and dragging them out in the street, which I absolutely will do for the purpose of identification as well as all things related…it will not look good!”

  • October 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    It was a Burglary since I wasn’t home at the time and was clearly intended to send a message…just thought I would throw that in there…figure the message(s) out for yourselves…

  • October 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    KtotheRad, have you seen the British documentary on the chap that was formerly the number 2 at the Scientologists?

    They have awful squads of people that harass folks. He set them up, so he has some ways to tackle them.

    Maybe he could offer some suggestions on how to protect yourself.

    I am deeply sorry if you are being hounded by the WTBTS. Good luck catching one of those goons. Now that would make a great documentary of its own, wouldn’t it?

  • October 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Horrendous acts, crimes, prosecutable abuse and felonious activity of every reprehensible nature has taken place right there on for a goodly period of time and not any of you nor the media or anyone of import has seemed to take even the slightest interest or care! Absolutely astounding! What the Society hasn’t deleted has hopefully been saved by others on storage device as I know I have saved much or is easily restored anyway but the absolute fascination is with the lack of interest in it…are you all blind and deaf? Or it simply doesn’t meet your needs to care? Hey whatever…hypocrisy is an evil beast!

  • October 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @ Excelsior, formerly known as George,

    Thanks and you don’t even know the half of it!

    I’m so frustrated right now with the hacking of my facebook page and tampering with it and so many things…but I am more frustrated with the lack of response from others!

  • October 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Here’s the message I sent to the incompetent and good for nothing FBI this morning:

    “Well, how do you incompetent Barney Fifes feel to know you have been publicly duped and outwitted once again by a bunch of anti-social cult freaks? If you had an ounce of sense you would be embarrassed to know that they cleaned up and deleted almost all of their business on again which raises the question once again as to what their interest is in the website so as to have that type of access…and to be able to plant multiple operative and control operations and moderation…I and others don’t have the option of deletion and they actually disabled my reporting functions! Since I don’t trust you even one iota and no one with any common sense would, I log now some of these reports for documentation and other reasons on It will interest you to know that after I reported yesterday’s event to you I went to my facebook page and commented that I made some food and wasn’t up to eating it. and that I haven’t been feeling good lately…That post was sent back to my timeline. This has been happening with moderate frequency as more messages I presume as I reported to you before about my computer and web pages being hacked…”

  • November 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Since so many posts were deleted by the Society to protect their criminal behavior, and the missing post numbers clearly reflect that (until they correct that as well) I have everything saved on storage anyway but here is a link to a reply link until that is deleted as well regarding a threat made against me by “SOS” the Watchtower operative on…not that any of you would so much as blink an eye one way or another either way!

  • November 8, 2013 at 7:12 am

    *reply post

  • November 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Kurt, I have read the links that you posted.

    Have you hired a lawyer about this? How about talking with the lawyer who is working with the abuse victims?

    The alleged hacking of your private medical records would be a grave offence, worthy of being reviewed by your attorney.

    If you indeed do have mental health issues, as I do to a mild degree, then it would do no harm to check that any medications that you take are the best for you. You should aim to review any medication with your doctor on a regular basis anyway.

    Finally, the reason most people don’t get involved is because they don’t want to face this alleged abuse themselves.

    I have no desire to have people snooping round my house and harassing me. I am willing to post here, and, after my dear old Mum is no more, I may decide to take it further. Or I may not.

    You need to get an attorney to look at your case, as we on this post will not have the power to help you.

    In the mean time

    Peace be with you


  • November 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Excelsior, formerly known as George says:
    On November 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    “If you indeed do have mental health issues, as I do to a mild degree”

    If I said I don’t see a Psychiatrist or take psych meds then that is the case…this is a scheme that was cooked up by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to discredit me and now it appears that people are buying into it did they provide any proof? I wouldn’t have a problem if I did as someone who worked and advocated in that field for years… but Thank You!
    You aren’t the slightest bit concerned about the use of operatives in itself? (Irrespective of me or my name) Or the disgusting gross, felonious criminal activity online? And then the great lengths to cover it up which only they seem to have the ability to do? I don’t see any mention of THAT any where on any sites elsewhere on the web which I find greatly disturbing! And always have…do you think this is only a threat to me? I’m an anomole?
    You know what? Just forget that I even posted any of this…all of you just ignore all of these posts since I can’t delete them…
    Just go about your business…

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