Pair with gun in church had prior arrests

Two suspects charged with carrying a concealed weapon into a north Charlotte church on Sunday had prior arrests, but neither has ever been charged with violent or gun-related crimes, according to court records.

Michael Brandon Blake was arrested in 2013 and 2014 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police for driving without a license. Blake was also convicted on multiple marijuana possession charges and in 2006 was convicted on larceny charges.

Austin Nathaniel Hannon, 16, has been arrested three times this year in Gaston County, twice for possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, and once for making threats.

The pair went into the First Haitian Church of Grace on West Sugar Creek Road, “and asked to speak with someone at the church to pray,” according to a news release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The two carried a backpack and were acting suspiciously, so police were called to the church about noon, the news release said.

But when police arrived, church leaders told them they did not want to cause a disruption of the service, and they did not want officers to speak with the two people, so the officers left the scene but stayed in the vicinity, the release said.

About 1:30 p.m., officers were called back by church leaders who said the two had continued to act suspiciously, so church members confronted them and found a gun in their backpack, the release said.

Blake and Hannon will have their initial appearance in court on Sept. 11. Neither could be reached for comment.