ST. STEPHEN, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston man is accused of assaulting and robbing a 75-year-old pastor at a church in St. Stephen.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office says 33-year-old Hector Gibbs Jr. attacked the Pastor Sandy Wilson outside Saint Mary's Holiness Church on North Highway 52.
Gibbs is being held in the Hill Finklea Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.
According to the sheriff's office, the pastor went to help the stranded motorist change the tire when Gibbs grabbed him, threw him to the ground and attempted to steal his wallet.
Authorities say several parishioners rushed in to help the pastor.
The 75-year-old preacher is thankful to be alive after the whole ordeal.
"We're about to celebrate 30 years here at the church, and we could have been having a funeral like so many others," said Mahilda Wilson, Sandy Wilson's wife.
Berkeley County investigators say a man later identified as Hector Gibbs Jr. pulled up in front of St. Mary's Holiness Church and asked Mahilda Wilson for help with a flat tire.
"I said, 'Where you from?'" said Wilson."He said,'I'm from Charleston.' But then he wanted me to tell him how to get to Charleston."
Wilson said she thought nothing of it. She had to teach Sunday school class so she asked her husband to try to help the stranded driver.
Sandy Wilson said Gibbs looked inside his sport coat.
"I think he was looking to see if I had a gun," Wilson said.
Wilson says Gibbs then started to grab him.
"He grabbed me, started bothering me, messing with me," Wilson said."I said,'No, don't do that. I'm a pastor, don't do that, back off.'"
The pastor says Gibbs got violent and tried to get his wallet.
"He pushed me down," Wilson said."I fell on my left side, so I'm laying on my wallet."
A man who saw what was going on ran inside the church to get help.
Church member Earnest Spann said he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Pastor on the ground, fighting for his life," Spann said."Yeah that was devastating for me to see that,"
"75-year-old man with a heart condition on his back. Somebody 30 something years old trying to do whatever they could to him," said Mahilda Wilson.
Authorities say Gibbs ran away but was quickly caught down the road on Highway 52. The sheriff's office says Gibbs fled on foot and tried to get a ride, but was found by St. Stephen police officers.
The Wilsons believe God was looking out for them.
"We are so grateful God didn't let him die," Mahilda Wilson said.
She says she doesn't hate Gibbs, and prays he gets the help he needs.
Gibbs rap sheet goes back to 2003.
His most recent arrest was back in December for domestic violence.