(CNN) — A glitzy Brooklyn pastor known for wearing designer suits and extravagant jewelry and his wife were robbed while preaching at church on Sunday, losing more than $1 million in jewelry, according to police.
Police say three men entered the Leaders of Tomorrow church on Sunday with guns and took the jewelry of Pastor Lamor Miller-Whitehead, known as Bishop, and his wife.
Part of the incident was recorded on video from inside the church. A portion of the live broadcast was obtained by CNN affiliate WCBS before it was removed and shows at least one of the assailants pointing a gun at the pastor and interrupting his sermon.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Whitehead says in the video, raising his hands and lowering himself to the ground.
The video is no longer available on the church’s livestream, but Whitehead told WCBS what happened.
“That, ‘Okay, okay, okay,’ is kind of like me declaring that I don’t want to, I’m not going to do anything, okay, because I know they’re coming for me, they’re coming right at me. I don’t want my parishioners to go out wounded,” he said.
“There are women and children there. When I went down, one went to my wife and took all her jewelry, and had the gun in front of my 8-month-old baby’s face,” he continued.
“He took off my bishop’s ring, the wedding ring, and he took off my bishop’s chain, and then he had chains under my robe, and he started touching my neck to see if (there was) anything else, which means they knew, that they were watching and they knew she had other jewelry,” she said.
Whitehead said there were also men with guns pointed at the deacons at the door. There were between 20 and 25 worshipers present, police said.
“My church is traumatized,” Whitehead said.
New York police said the suspects took more than $1 million worth of jewelry and then fled the scene on foot. They got into a white Mercedes-Benz vehicle and were seen traveling east on Avenue D, police said.
Pastor highlights ties to Mayor Eric Adams
According to his biography, Whitehead attended New York Theological Seminary and completed his studies with a certificate in Human Services Ministry from Rising Hope Theological Institution Inc. The institute touts him as a New York State-licensed chaplain and marriage officiant. and certified funerals.
In 2013, he founded the Leaders of Tomorrow Ministry in Brooklynaccording to his biography.
His church biography also says that Eric Adams, former Brooklyn borough president and current mayor of New York, was his mentor.
“No one in this city should be the victim of an armed robbery, least of all our religious leaders and members of a congregation who worship in a House of God,” Adams said in a statement. “The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice.”
Whitehead urged those responsible to turn themselves in to the police.
“I forgive you and I’m praying for you, you know, and I hope God sets you free from the mindset of who you are right now,” he said.
Whitehead and his church have not returned calls seeking comment.
The pastor made headlines in June when he said he had been involved in trying to negotiate the surrender of a man accused of shooting and killing a Goldman Sachs employee on the New York subway. The police ended up arresting the man before he could give himself up voluntarily.
The verified instagram account de Whitehead details his extravagant displays of wealth, including suits emblazoned with Louis Vuitton, large jewelry, and flashy cars. The pastor rejected media headlines referring to him as “ostentatious” in a Sunday night video.
“It’s not about me being flashy. It’s about me buying what I want to buy,” he said. “It is my right to buy what I want to buy. If I have worked hard for it, I can buy what I want to buy.”
— CNN’s Eric Levenson and Liam Reilly contributed to this report.