Olivet Baptist parishioner arrested after video shows him punch another man during Christmas church service in Chattanooga

Photo by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office / Marcus Trammell Williams
photo Photo by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office / Marcus Trammell Williams

A man whose violent outburst at a local church was recorded and shared online has been arrested and charged with assault.

The video recording, which went viral Monday, showed a man allegedly striking a fellow parishioner at Chattanooga's Olivet Baptist Church.

Video hosted on TMZ.com shows the man walking up to the church's first assistant pastor and youth pastor, Chris Sands, who is sitting in the front row, and punching him in the face during a Christmas Day service.

Trammell Williams, 34, was arrested Sunday by the Chattanooga Police Department and charged with assault in connection with the incident.

Attempts Tuesday to contact Williams for comment were unsuccessful.

The incident happened during a sermon conducted by Bishop Kevin Adams. In the wake of worldwide attention created by the video, Adams has asked how the community can do a better job of helping people who struggle with mental health and addiction.

(READ MORE: Olivet Baptist Church, Chattanooga Christian School to launch microschool this fall)

"How do we help these families?" Adams said during a telephone interview Tuesday. "How do we come together as a community to offer more support for these individuals?"

Adams said Williams had recently been in a local rehabilitation center and had been released for the Christmas holiday. He said Williams does not remember the incident and that Sands had not done anything to provoke the attack.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga faith leaders, police chief gather to address unrest after death of George Floyd)

Williams has a history of run-ins with the law. He was arrested and charged with vandalism in 2017; violation of probation/assault, domestic assault, vandalism/malicious mischief, assault on police and resisting arrest in 2010; and theft of property in 2007.

Even so, Adams said he continues to support Williams.

"It is not our desire for him to get locked up," he said. "We want him to get the treatment that he needs. I've already spoken to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office; we're talking to them and the judicial system in [efforts] to aid and support and get him the treatment that he needs."

(READ MORE: Olivet Baptist Church pastor recognized for lifetime of service)

Contact La Shawn Pagán at lpagan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.