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Fugitive Kills Pastor in Texas Church Shooting, Police Say

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Fugitive Kills Pastor in Texas Church Shooting, Police Say

A police chase on Saturday night in East Texas culminated in a deadly confrontation on Sunday morning in a church between its pastor and a fugitive who was hiding there, the police stated.

The capturing, at Starrville Methodist Church in Starrville, Texas, a small, unincorporated neighborhood about 100 miles east of Dallas, left the pastor lifeless and three others, together with the gunman, injured, the authorities stated.

The person had been fleeing the police in a Volkswagen Jetta on Saturday night, brandishing a shotgun by means of the automobile’s sunroof in the course of the chase, when a state trooper in a patrol automobile struck the Jetta close to the church, Sheriff Larry Smith of Smith County stated at a information convention on Sunday.

The person bumped into the woods, resulting in a manhunt involving drones and canine that lasted greater than two hours.

It was unclear what set off the chase however the sheriff stated the license plates on the Jetta the person was driving have been “fictitious — they didn’t belong on that car.”

After he had evaded the authorities, the person took refuge late Saturday or early Sunday within the church, Sheriff Smith stated.

Unaware {that a} fugitive was hiding of their home of worship, the pastor, his spouse and two others entered the church at round 9:30 a.m. native time on Sunday.

“Nothing out of the bizarre,” the sheriff stated. However when the pastor opened the restroom door, he found the fugitive hiding there holding a crimson financial institution bag that belonged to the church, Sheriff Smith stated.

The person confronted the pastor earlier than the pastor drew his gun and “ordered him to cease,” the sheriff stated.

However as they moved towards the entrance door, the person lunged on the pastor and overcame him, taking maintain of the gun, and capturing and killing the pastor. It was unclear what sort of gun the pastor had or what occurred to the shotgun the person had in the course of the chase.

The gunman fled the scene within the pastor’s automobile earlier than being apprehended by state troopers after they situated the car utilizing OnStar, the sheriff stated.

The gunman had a gunshot wound to his left hand, although it was unclear if that occurred in the course of the wrestle with the pastor, officers stated.

One different particular person, a person who was shot, was in surgical procedure at UT Well being East Texas hospital on Sunday afternoon, officers stated. His situation was not instantly accessible.

One other particular person, a lady who was not shot, had non-life-threatening accidents from a fall in the course of the chaos after the capturing. She was in the identical hospital in secure situation, a spokeswoman for the hospital stated.

The authorities didn’t instantly determine the victims or the gunman. The capturing didn’t seem to have a spiritual motive and was a criminal offense of alternative, the sheriff stated.

“It was handy for the man to return out of the woods — it was chilly final evening — discover him a heat place to remain and, apparently, he was nonetheless there once they got here to church this morning,” Sheriff Smith stated.

The pastor, who had been within the place for lower than a 12 months, had moved to Starrville to run the church and didn’t have any shut household within the space, stated Sam Griffith, a Starrville resident who has preached on the church.

He marveled that such an episode may happen whereas the pastor was making an attempt to arrange the constructing for Sunday service.

“You activate the warmth and brew the espresso and hastily you come throughout the man,” he stated.

Helen Lowry, a Starrville resident who lives close to the church, stated the neighborhood has many residents whose households have lived there since its founding within the 1800s.

“I grew up in that church,” Ms. Lowry, 60, stated on Sunday. “That is stunning.”

Gov. Greg Abbott stated in an announcement that the state was “working intently with first responders and native officers to make sure that justice is served and that the Starrville neighborhood has the assets it wants throughout this time.”

In a separate message on Twitter, he stated, “Texas will search swift justice for the shooter.”



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