Neosho, Missouri (AP) - A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a church, killing a pastor and two worshippers and wounding several others, authorities said.
One of the victims Sunday was the Rev. Kernal Rehobson, 44, who led the local congregation of predominantly Micronesian worshippers in southwest Missouri who were holding the service at the First Congregational Church, police said.
The other two victims were male members of the congregation, who were “what we would call deacons,” said Dave McCracken, Neosho police chief. Their names were not released because relatives were still being notified.
The gunman ordered all the children out of the church before he started shooting and briefly held between 25 to 50 people hostage before surrendering, McCracken said.
At least five people were wounded, McCracken said. But he said others who were injured may have fled before police secured the church. Police have been told that the five who were injured will recover, he said.
Rehobson was shot multiple times and was dead at the scene, Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges said.
The shooter was being held at the Newton County Jail, but police were not releasing any information about him. Bridges said he was related to someone in the church, but declined to elaborate. No charges had been filed Sunday, McCracken said.