GREEN BAY – A Tuesday night incident involving alleged trespassing at a west-side church by two friends of former Green Bay Packers player Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has prompted police to alert area schools about the men.
If Ryan DeSmith or Jordan Salmi “are observed on your school grounds, please notify the Green Bay Police Department,” the notice states. Police directed school officials to distribute the notice to all employees.
The notice refers to a Tuesday incident at Assembly of God Church, 1460 Shawano Ave., where the two men went to attend or monitor a Christmas program being put on by students of Providence Academy, a private school at 1420 Division St.
Police said Salmi, 24, of Onalaska, and Desmith, 22, of Friendship caused no disturbance but refused to leave when Providence school officials and police told them to. Upon arrest, both men were found to be carrying concealed weapons for which they had no permit, police say. There was no allegation that they brandished the weapons or used them in any way.
Gbaja-Biamila, who also showed up at the scene but left when ordered, later put out a YouTube video directed to fellow members of Straitway Truth Ministry. In it, he explained that he directed the two men to videotape the Christmas show. Straitway identifies itself as a Hebrew Israelite or Black Hebrew church that, Gbaja-Biamila said, has religious views that differ widely from Christian views such as those supported by Providence Academy.
He did not say what he planned to do with the videotape; he said he wanted to record it because he objected to his two sons, who attend Providence Academy, participating in the Christmas program.
He said the pastor/headmaster of Providence recognized the two men as being associates of Gbaja-Biamila’s and ordered them to leave, then called 9-1-1 when they wouldn’t.
Gbaja-Biamila said the two men caused no disturbance, had no plans to disrupt the show, and simply planned to act on his request to record the event. He went to the scene, then bailed the two men out of jail, he told his church associates.
Police confirm that two of Gbaja-Biamila’s children attend Providence Academy and that he has other children attending NEW Lutheran High School.
Police said the weapons confiscated from DeSmith, 22, of Friendship, and Salmi, 24, of Onalaska, remain in police custody.
A vehicle “possibly associated with this incident” is a black 2015 Cadillac Escalade, license FROG94.
Police give no indication that the men pose a danger. They just ask to be notified if the men are seen on school grounds. Public schools were notified, but police especially drew attention to NEW Lutheran and Providence.
The notification includes photographs of Salmi, DeSmith and Gbaja-Biamila.
In his video, Gbaja-Biamila expressed deep religious differences with Ron Jung, the pastor/headmaster of Providence Academy; condemned his own sons for participating in what he called a pagan event involving decorated Christmas trees; and said they were committing sin by following the dictates of Gbaja-Biamila’s estranged wife instead of his.
In another video posted Thursday, Gbaja-Biamila praised DeSmith and Salmi for being willing to sacrifice themselves for his sake. He said he’d only known them for about two years, but he called them his brothers. He accused Jung of wanting to get him into trouble with police and hoping that police would shoot him.
Gbaja-Biamila also accused the Press-Gazette of “convicting” the two men while they still enjoyed the presumption of innocence.
He could not be reached for comment.
The men were arrested on suspicion of carrying concealed weapons without permits and of trespassing, all misdemeanors. They have not been charged with a crime and no court date has been set.
Jung could not be reached for comment, either. Instead, he issued a press release in which he called the matter “an unfortunate incident” that was resolved quickly thanks to local law enforcement.
As a precautionary measure, school was canceled Wednesday and Thursday, taking students and staff to Christmas break, Jung said.
“We have reached out to our students, teachers and staff so they are aware of what happened,” he said. “With our current trimester now complete, we look forward to resuming classes following the Christmas break.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Police to schools: Be on the lookout for Gbaja-Biamila associates involved in disturbance outside church