ASHTABULA, Ohio (TheBlaze/AP) — Police in northeast Ohio are investigating a shooting outside a church that left one man dead after an Easter service. And the details may shock you.
A member of the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ said the man was shot soon after Easter services ended, around 1:15 p.m. Sunday. Joan Crockett said the man knew the shooter, and that a suspect was taken into custody.
Media reports — and the police — identified the victim as Richard Riddle, 52, and said his son was the shooter.
Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell told the Star Beacon in Ashtabula that dispatchers received multiple calls about the shooting from inside the church and that a mass shooting was feared. He said at least six other law enforcement agencies rushed to assist local police.
The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland reported that the church’s pastor said congregants were leaving when they heard a gunshot. Here’s how WKYC-TV describes the shooting:
Rashad Riddle, waited outside of the church until his family came out. He said a few words before shooting his father, Richard Riddle, who died at the scene. A witness only remembers hearing one shot.
The shooter didn’t leave the scene following the shooting. When police arrived, they told him to put down his gun, which he did. Police then took him into custody.
But here’s where the details get a bit more curious. According to WYTV-TV, the suspected shooter, Rashad Riddle, yelled, “The will of Allah — this is the will of God,” either before or after the murder.
Those at the church described the chaos in detail.
Associate Pastor Sean Adams told The (Ashtabula) Star Beacon newspaper that worshippers started screaming, ducking down and calling 911 on cellphones after the shooting.
“”It was terrifying,” Adams told the newspaper. “The children were screaming and people were dialing 911. We were afraid to breathe.”
Adams said Reshad Riddle then continued into the church, still holding the gun, and yelled that the killing was “the will of Allah. This is the will of God.”
“People pushed me into a back office and said, `Somebody’s here with a gun,’” said the Rev. David Howard Jr. “The guy was outside hollering and acting crazy.”
There were no immediate reports of any other injuries.
Howard said the church has about 175 members and that congregants didn’t know what led up to the shooting.
“It’s such a tragic loss,” Crockett said.
County Coroner Pamela Lancaster told the Star Beacon that Riddle’s wound was “immediately fatal.” She said the body will be transferred to the Cuyahoga County coroner’s office for autopsy.