WINONA, Texas – A suspect is in custody and will be charged with capital murder after a shooting broke out at a Texas church that killed a pastor and injured two other victims, according to a report from WFAA-TV.
The names of the suspect and the victims have not yet been released.
The shooting happened around 9:20 a.m. at the Starrville Methodist Church in Winona, which is northeast of Tyler and east of Dallas.
The Smith County Sheriff’s Office told WFAA-TV that the suspect was involved in a vehicle chase Saturday night and was hiding from authorities inside the church.
Early Sunday morning, the pastor entered the church and later opened a bathroom stall, where the suspect confronted him, WFAA reports.
Sheriff Larry Smith told multiple news outlets that the pastor was armed and waved the weapon at the suspect, asking him to leave the church.
It was then that the suspect disarmed the pastor and shot and killed him, according to WFAA.
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith gives update on Starrville Methodist Church shootingPosted by KLTV 7 on Sunday, January 3, 2021
The suspect fled the scene in the pastor’s car but was later arrested in Harrison County. He was injured in the incident as well, with a gunshot wound to his hand, WFAA reports.
The two other victims also sustained injuries, one from a fall and another with gunshot wounds, and both of their conditions are unknown at this time.
Sheriff Smith told WFAA that the suspect will be charged with capital murder.
No church services were going on at the time of the shooting.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued this statement on Sunday, shortly after the incident:
“Our hearts are with the victims and the families of those killed or injured in this terrible tragedy. 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 horrific shooting. The State of Texas is working closely with first responders and local officials to ensure that justice is served and that the Starrville community has the resources it needs during this time.”
This is a developing story and we’ll bring more details as they become available.