One churchgoer is dead and another injured after a gunman opened fire yesterday inside a Mormon church in Nevada.
The suspected shooter, John Kelley O’Connor, 48, allegedly walked into to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon on Sunday afternoon, killing 61-year-old Charles “Bert” Miller and wounding another victim, KOLO-TV reported.
Miller and the other victim were inside the church with about 50 other parishioners when O’Connor allegedly shot the victims. O’Connor is reportedly a member of the church and had been there prior to the shooting, KTVN-TV reported.
Following the incident, O’Connor went home and was followed there by law enforcement, KTVN reported. A hostage negotiator was able to convince him to leave his home and surrender.
The motive for the shooting is unclear, Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman said during a press conference Sunday.
“It’s really too early to understand the motive,” Gehman said.
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev, wrote on Twitter that “places of worship should be a safe haven.”
Devastated by the horrific news of the fatal shooting at the LDS church in Fallon. Thank you to the first responders on the scene. My heart goes out to all of those impacted. Places of worship should be a safe haven. The gun violence across this country must end.
— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) July 23, 2018
Deeply saddened by the act of senseless violence in Fallon today at the LDS church. We are in contact with Mayor Tedford and other officials. My family and I are praying for all loved ones, churchgoers, and community members impacted by this tragedy.
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) July 22, 2018
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is praying for the victims, spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement.
“We express our love to those in this congregation and our prayers for the victims and their families. local leaders are ministering to them at this time,” Hawkins said.
The injured victim has been treated and released from the hospital, KTVN reported. O’Connor is being held at the Churchill County Detention Center.
Miller is survived by his wife, three children and several grandchildren, Chief Gehman said.
The police chief was surprised by the strength shown by the church members in the aftermath of the shooting.
“They were all shook up but it was clear they were there for each other,” Gehman said.