Man shot, killed outside Ashtabula church after Easter service
Police in Ashtabula are investigating a shooting outside a church that has reportedly left one man dead after an Easter service.
Ashtabula police would not immediately confirm the fatality; an officer answering the telephone would say only that authorities were investigating.
The incident occurred about 1:15 p.m. outside Hiawatha Church of God in Christ at 3417 Hiawatha St. in Ashtabula.
The Plain Dealer reported the church’s pastor said congregants were leaving the church when they heard a gunshot.
“People pushed me into a back office and
said, ‘Somebody’s here with a gun,’ ” the Rev. David Howard Jr. said.
“The guy was outside hollering and acting crazy.”
Michael Wofford, a deacon of the church, was inside when the shooting happened. He said the wounded man, who was a regular member of the church, died soon after being shot.
Church member Joan Crockett said the man knew the shooter, that a suspect was taken into custody and that the wounded man died.
Wofford said the suspect was the victim’s son, and Howard told WTAM-AM 1100 the suspect and victim were son and father, respectively.
After the shooting, Wofford said the suspect walked into the church, climbed to the pulpit, and began preaching “crazy stuff,” like “he was the resurrection.”
Wofford said he and everyone else inside crawled under the pews to stay safe.
“My real concern was that we had a lot of kids here,” Wofford said. “What was he going to do when he stopped talking?”
Police arrived minutes after the shooting and arrested the suspect, Wofford said.
Between 75 and 100 people were in attendance for the Easter service, he said.
“A lot of kids came because we had an Easter program today,” Wofford said.
No other injuries were immediately reported after the incident.
Howard said the church has about 175 members. He said people at the church do not know what led to the shooting.
“A lot of (people) are traumatized after seeing something like that happen,” Wofford said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong. Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these. GeorgeWashingtonCarver