Monday, December 10, 2007

Church Shooting in Colorado

From the LA Times:

"FOUR people have been killed and six others wounded in shooting sprees at a missionary school and a church that authorities said appeared to be related.

The gunman in the second incident was killed by a church security guard.

The first shooting occurred about 12.30am on Sunday, when a man wearing a dark coat and a beanie entered the Youth With a Mission dormitory in the Denver suburb of Arvada.

Witnesses said the gunman spoke to several staff members, asking to spend the night. After a 30-minute discussion grew heated, he was turned away. When a staff member asked for help from others to usher him out, he drew a handgun, shot dead a woman and a man and wounded two other staff members.

He fled on foot. As ambulances rushed the wounded away, heavily armed police with dogs searched the snow-covered ground of surrounding neighbourhoods while residents locked their doors and windows. But no trace of the man was found in the area.

More than 12 hours later, a gunman opened fire in the car park of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He fatally shot one churchgoer who was in a car and wounded four others. When he tried to enter the crowded church, he was gunned down by a security guard.

A witness said the gunman apparently used a smoke grenade and authorities were investigating the possibility that he may have left several explosives behind. Officials said 7000 people were on the New Life Church grounds at the time of the shooting.

Arvada Police Chief Don Wick said at a news conference on Sunday night that the two shootings could be connected but he did not elaborate. New Life had increased security after hearing of the Arvada shooting, but officials did not say whether church guards normally were armed.

The Youth With a Mission school trains about 300 missionaries a year and is part of an international chain of missionary academies.

After the shooting in Arvada, police searched the area with dogs and checked for footprints in the freshly fallen snow. They warned residents to be on the lookout for the gunman.

Hours later, services began at the Faith Hope Chapel, which houses the missionary school. Christian soft rock piped over loudspeakers in the car park while police cruisers kept watch. Yellow crime-scene tape cordoned off the two-storey school dormitory hundreds of metres away."


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