A gunman barged into a church in New Hampshire and opened fire, wounding a bride and the bishop before wedding guests tackled him, authorities said. Investigators want to know if the attack is related to another fatal shooting this month.
Dale Holloway, 37, was charged with first-degree assault after he allegedly opened fire at the New England Pentecostal Ministriesin Pelham on Saturday.
The shooting left Claire McMullen, 60, hospitalized with arm injuries at a local hospital. The bishop, Stanley Choate, 75, was shot in the chest and hospitalized in serious condition, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head with an object and was treated and released from a local hospital, the release said.
McMullen and Castiglione are the bride and groom, CNN affiliate WHDH reported.
Wedding guests ‘gang-tackled him’
A 911 caller reported a man walked into the church and shot at the presiding bishop, the state attorney general’s office said.
Officers arrived at the church just after 10 a.m. Saturday, and found wedding guests had subdued the male suspect, Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said at a news conference.
“From my understanding, they basically gang-tackled him,” he said.
Other wedding guests were treated for minor injuries and nobody was killed, Roark said. A handgun was recovered. Investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting is linked to a previous incident involving the groom’s son, Brandon Castiglione, who is accused of second-degree murder in the killing of pastor Luis Garcia this month. Garcia worked at the same church where Saturday’s shooting took place, and his body was found at a home in Londonderry on October 1, according to the affiliate.
Police say attack does not appear random
When asked if the shooting was related to Garcia’s killing, investigators said they are trying to determine whether there was a connection.
“We are certainly looking into that right now … whether there is in fact a clear connection between these two events that is something we’re trying to put together,” said Benjamin Agati, a senior assistant attorney general.
Roark told CNN affiliate WMUR that it does not appear to be a random attack. A memorial service was scheduled to be held for Garcia, 60, at the same venue after the wedding.
“It’s just surreal,” Donna Maciver told CNN affiliate WCVB. “Luis was shot, and now there’s a shooting at his church.”
A friend of the bishop injured in the shooting said he’s a pillar in the community. “A lot of people in the community look to Bishop Choate for leadership, especially African Americans,” Darius Mitchell told WCVB. ” You hear him preach and he definitely believes in God and God was looking out for him.”
The Pelham Police Department said it had provided active shooter training to members of the church within the past year.
Pelham is 40 miles north of Boston.