Snake Kills Pastor who tried to demonstrate the Bible passage of trampling on serpents
in Knoxville, Tenn.
“Jamie went across the floor. He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand before, within a second,” said Winn.
He said Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on. Within minutes, he said Coots headed to the bathroom with his son and Hamblin, who is on Snake Salvation.
“Andrew said he looked at him and said 'sweet Jesus' and it was over. He didn't die right then, but he just went out and never woke back up,” Winn said.
Coots' son, Cody, said his dad had been bit eight times before, but never had such a severe reaction.
He said he thought the bite his dad received Saturday would be just like all the others.
“We're going to go home, he's going to lay on the couch, he's going to hurt, he's going to pray for a while and he's going to get better. That's what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy, it was really crazy,” said Cody Coots.
Cody Coots said he and a group of people at the church helped carry his dad to the car and took him home, where he died later that night. He said his dad didn't believe in going to the doctor for a snakebite.
The Snake Salvation Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/snakesalvation featured a “Rest in Peace” cover photo on Sunday. A Day Of Support and Remembering of Pastor Coots was announced for Tuesday.
“I am so sorry for the family's loss,” Janet Ellison posted. “He died doing what he felt led to do by God. Heaven gained a true warrior tonight!”
Not all the reaction was so sympathetic. Hemant Mehta, in the Friendly Atheist http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/02/16/snake-handling-pastor-dies-after-being-bitten-by-a-snake/ blog, wrote: “Alright, everyone just get it out of your system: 'I told you so.' There. Much better.”
Jamie Coots isn't the first to be fatally bitten at the Middlesboro, Ky., church. A snake handler named Melinda Brown died after she was bit in 1995.
Contributing: Bob Smietna, The Tennessean; Evan Johnson, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn.