Homeless man arrested, accused of threatening North Little Rock church

FILE — A North Little Rock Police Department vehicle is shown in this 2019 file photo.

North Little Rock police on Friday arrested a 33-year-old homeless man who, investigators say, disrupted a church service with talk of guns and violence.

Craig Bernard Wilder is charged with a felony count of making a terroristic threat. Records show authorities had been looking for Wilder since Monday.

According to an arrest affidavit by Detective Gary Jones, police were called to the First Pentecostal Church of North Little Rock on June 29 by parishioners who complained that a stranger was making statements that were so disturbing that they had to evacuate the building.

Police arrived and found Wilder in the sanctuary talking to himself. Wilder was made to leave the premises, and he was warned that he would be arrested if he returned.

Jones later spoke with Darin and Victoria Keith. Darin Keith said he was praying in the church when his wife, seated in another pew a distance away, texted him to come sit by her because there was someone "talking crazy" by her, according to the affidavit.

Darin Keith, who owns Bennett's Casual Dining restaurant in Sherwood, said he saw a man pacing back and forth and saying, "This is why I carry guns all the time. It's not the gangbangers who should be scared of me, it's the people that wear blue suits and come to church on Sundays that should be. I'll make them all kneel down and I will blow their brains out one by one."

Darin Keith said the man was not speaking to anyone in particular but talking aloud.

He further said he quietly told other churchgoers to step outside the building while someone else called 911. 

Victoria Keith told investigators that she heard the man say, "I better calm down before Sunday or I'll come here and cause a scene."

She also heard him talking about making church members kneel and kiss his feet as well as describing how he would put a gun in their faces, the affidavit states.

Darin Keith was able to identify Wilder from police photographs, but his wife could not.

Court records show that Wilder is already facing felony charges after arrests this year in Little Rock and North Little Rock.

He was arrested on April 13 at the North Little Rock Shell station after police investigated a complaint about a shoplifter stealing a six-pack of beer.

Store manager Garry Singh directed officers to the nearby Burger King at 403 E. Broadway, where Wilder was found asleep in front of the restaurant next to a six-pack that was missing a beer. Singh declined to press charges, but Wilder was arrested on a misdemeanor public intoxication charge.

Officers who searched Wilder found methamphetamine in his pants pocket, court records show. Wilder was released that same day on his own recognizance.

On July 7, Wilder was arrested by Little Rock police at the Compassion Center, 2618 W. Roosevelt Road, after volunteer worker Bart Caulder reported that Wilder had grabbed him by his shirt. A background check showed that Wilder was wanted on a felony criminal mischief charge after a car was vandalized at Jericho Way, 3000 Springer Blvd., on June 8. Wilder was released on his own recognizance.

In the vandalism case, a witness, Brianna Gibson, told police that she saw Wilder throw rocks at Jeremy Askew's truck. She said that Wilder picked up a large rock and broke the windshield. The estimate for repairing Askew's pickup was $5,284, according to an arrest affidavit. 

Askew told police that he knew Wilder as a former client of the homeless shelter, saying that Wilder had been banned because of his actions.