Police: Son shoots, kills dad at Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in Ashtabula on Easter Sunday

Victim's name not released

ASHTABULA, Ohio - One man is dead after a shooting at an Ohio church on Easter Sunday.

Police said the shooting happened at the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in Ashtabula, about an hour northeast of Cleveland.

"It's not something that you expect on a religious holiday and it's sad, it's very unfortunate and of course our hearts go out to the families and everybody that had to be here today to experience this. It's a terrible thing," said Chief Robert Stell of the Ashtabula Police Department.

The church's pastor, David Howard Jr., and the Ashtabula Police Department have confirmed to NewsChannel5 that after the Easter service the 52-year-old male victim went outside and was shot in the head and killed by his son. Once police arrived on scene, the son was taken into police custody without resistance.

"He was a good man, he didn't deserve to die," cried a young woman who said the victim was her step-father.

Pastor Howard, who has been with the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ for 35 years, said the victim used to be a regular parishioner. Although the victim was no longer a member of the church, he attended Easter services on Sunday.

Pastor Howard said there were approximately 175 people inside of the church at the time of the shooting.

An associate pastor of the church, Steve Sargent, told NewsChannel5 the suspect could be heard from inside the church yelling after he fired his handgun.

"I could hear the assailant talking, yelling. He had come in the sanctuary and was standing in the pulpit and I didn't know if he was going to be doing like a hostage situation," said Sargent.

The victim's name is not being released at this time. Pastor Howard said the victim's mother witnessed the shooting. The motive of the shooting remains under investigation.
 

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