Gunman hiding in church kills pastor, injures 2 others: Report

A gunman on the run from police fatally shot a pastor who found him hiding in his Texas church.

The suspect, who wounded two other people in the Sunday morning shooting, was arrested and charged with murder and felony assault, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

1 dead, 2 wounded

Pastor Mark McWilliams, who was armed, had found 21-year-old Mytrez Deunte Woolen hiding in his church bathroom. The suspect grabbed the minister’s gun and shot him, fatally. He also shot at the pastor’s wife and missed, but she fell and hurt her shoulder, according to 12NewsNow in southeast Texas.

Another person, later identified as Mike Seller, was injured from gunshots in the attack, which was reported around 9 a.m. on Sunday, according to KETK. There were no services happening at the time.

Police had pursued the suspect initially after receiving reports of someone pointing a shotgun out of the sunroof of a car Saturday. Following a car chase, the suspect crashed outside the church and a manhunt ensued in the surrounding woods. A shotgun was found in the car.

The suspect is thought to have taken cover at Starville Methodist Church in Winona sometime early Sunday, 12News reported.

“As far as I’m concerned this is not a church-related or religion-related offense,” Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said, according to a local NBC affiliate. “This was an opportunity that was convenient for the guy to come out of the woods…and apparently he was still there when they came to the church this morning.”

Suspect in custody

Following the shooting, Woolen stole the pastor’s car and got into another car chase, reportedly reaching speeds of 120 mph, before police finally apprehended him in Harrison County, the AP reported.

The pastor’s car had OnStar, which helped authorities track down the suspect and arrest him, according to 12News.

Woolen was treated for a gunshot wound to the hand and jailed on a $3.5 million bond. He has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and capital murder, KXAN reports.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) later expressed his sympathy to the victims of the senseless attack.

“Our hearts are with the victims and the families of those killed or injured in this terrible tragedy,” Abbott said, according to the Washington Examiner. “I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who apprehended the suspect, and I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for those affected by this horrible shooting.”

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