A bizarre incident unfolded at the Emerald Beach Church of God in Panama City Beach, Florida, when a Georgia man, identified as Derek Porter, allegedly broke into the church but decided to take an unexpected detour to baptize himself in the church’s baptismal pool. The incident, which resulted in damages amounting to approximately $8,000, was captured on body camera footage released by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Early on Friday morning, Porter used a cinderblock to break a window and gain entry into the church. Startled by the noise, a woman working in the church managed to flee and promptly alerted the authorities. Porter proceeded to load several electronics, including a television and a computer, along with the church’s money bag, into his truck, further compounding his criminal actions.
Deputies from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Panama City Beach Police Department swiftly responded to the incident and apprehended Porter. Upon arrest, authorities discovered that Porter was in possession of meth and drug paraphernalia. During questioning, Porter claimed to have limited memory of various moments inside the church but vividly remembered baptizing himself in the church’s baptismal pool. He alleged that during the baptism, he felt as though “something” was holding his head underwater.
Notably, Porter wasn’t the only one who took advantage of the baptistry that day. The body camera footage shows a BCSO K-9 working with the sheriff’s office cooling off in the baptismal pool.
Porter, who was already out on bond for a burglary charge in Georgia, now faces multiple charges, including burglary of an occupied structure, criminal mischief, possession of meth, and possession of drug paraphernalia.