The Religion News Service offers some background on the man accused of brandishing a gun at the US Capitol building yesterday.
Larry Russell Dawson, 66, of Antioch is known locally as a onetime funeral director who lost his license, a Williamson County school bus driver fired for harassing a teenage girl and a self-styled church pastor who launched a fundraising campaign in the name of raising the federal minimum wage. …
The church’s mission is described as having a foundation of the word of God, “We are building the kingdom of God on the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
In a video posted on the website, Dawson holds up a sign and he’s “taking a trip to Washington, D.C.”
An effort to raise the minimum wage appears to be a key part of the church’s ministry, referring to it as “the movement.” Text and a video on the website also asked for donations for trips to D.C. to advocate for increasing the minimum wage.
“The movement now is to get the U.S. Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00. I have been to Washington, D.C. three (3) times this year pushing for a raise in the minimum wage,” the website said.
Police confirmed that Dawson is a familiar presence around the Capitol, but in a Guardian report dismissed his actions as
“the act of single person who has frequented Capitol grounds before and [there was] no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act”.
Dawson remained in stable but critical condition Monday night after being shot by Capitol police as he tried to enter the Visitor Center with a gun. A female bystander was also injured in the incident.
At a hearing which denied the reinstatement of his funeral director’s licence in 2014, Dawson referred to an earlier arrest over the harassment of a teenaged girl, stating his belief that
“Any time that a minister is being led by God, and he gives you a direct command to do something, it’s left up to you to do it or not to do it”.
Find more on the Religion News Service here.
Featured image: Dawson seeks support for his “Movement” to raise the minimum wage, via St Luke’s, Nashville