Monday, August 13, 2007

I Guess I Got Off Lucky ...

I read about this yesterday ... at the time I thought it was just another strange and sad story about violence in a church ... now with more details emerging, including the shooting and killing of the pastor and two others. I guess I can offer thanks that the worse I'm facing is a suspension ...

We can only offer our profound thoughts and prayers for all involved ... And this just underscores the need of the Church to be a place of Grace, Care, Compassion, and Faith in the midst of a world mad with violence and deception ...
It's also a stark reminder that we MUST live our faith, not just speak it ...

Argument led to church shooting

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A gunman ordered children out of the sanctuary before opening fire, killing three people and wounding at least five in the middle of a service for Micronesian worshippers.

Police said the shooting Sunday was fuelled by an altercation Saturday night between the suspect and a family that belonged to the congregation. It was not clear if the suspect was part of the congregation.
The suspect, a man in his 40s who was from the Pacific islands, was being held in the Newton County jail pending charges expected to be announced on Monday.

One of those killed was Kernal Rehobson, 44, of Goodman, who led the congregation, which was holding a service at the First Congregational Church, police said.

The other two victims were male members of the congregation, who were "what we would call deacons," said Dave McCracken, Neosho police chief. Their names were not released because relatives were still being notified.

He said police were told the five wounded people, all adults, would recover.

The church rents out its sanctuary for a service for people from the Micronesian islands in the Pacific. McCracken said Micronesians began arriving in Neosho 20 or 25 years ago to work in the poultry industry and about 200 live in the Neosho area.

The gunman had two small-calibre handguns and one 9-mm semi-automatic machine-pistol with a large magazine, McCracken said. The shooting came during the 1 p.m. service, which was attended by about 50 people ranging in age from children to the elderly.

"This was a tragedy as far as those killed and injured but it could have been a lot worse," McCracken said.

The gunman surrendered to authorities after about 10 minutes of negotiation.
Calls to the church went unanswered.

Rehobson led the group of Micronesians for about 15 years and ran a Micronesian store out of his house in Goodman, said Larry Zuniga, 42, who worked with Rehobson at Wal-Mart.

The congregants used to meet at Rehobson's house and were using the First Congregational Church for worship while they searched for a permanent home, Zuniga said.

"This is a terrible tragedy which was made worse by the fact that it happened in a peaceful place of faith and worship," Gov. Matt Blunt said in a press release issued Sunday evening.

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