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Florida Triple-Murder Suspect Is Arrested. What He's Accused of Has Left a Church Absolutely Devastated.

"He was incoherent most all the time. He always thought people were trying to do something they weren't."

(Image source: Tampa Bay Times)

Authorities said they've arrested a Florida man suspected of killing his wife and another woman and then going to the church where his wife worked as the children's director and fatally shooting the church's pastor.

(Image source: Tampa Bay Times) Andres "Andy" Avalos (Image source: Tampa Bay Times)

Andres "Andy" Avalos, 33, was arrested Saturday afternoon, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said. Avalos was taken into custody without incident at a mobile home park and has been charged with murder, sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow told the Associated Press in an email. Avalos was being held without bond, the official said.

The Bradenton Herald initially reported the arrest, noting that authorities suspect Avalos in Thursday's killings of his wife, Amber Avalos; the pastor of Bayshore Baptist Church, James "Tripp" Battle, and a neighbor, Denise Potter.

Battle was fatally shot in the courtyard of his Bradenton church, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Potter and Amber Avalos were fatally shot earlier at the Avalos home, the paper added.

Battle's father told the Times that Andres Avalos arrived at the church Thursday, spoke to Battle's wife, Joy, the church secretary, and then got to Pastor Battle.

"Joy saw it, she witnessed it, and he pumped a number of rounds into Tripp," Jimmy Battle told the Times.

More from the Times:

Amber Avalos, 33, had worked at the church for about nine months or a year, according to Battle. He said she had six kids and Tripp, 31, had tried to counsel her and her husband, who seemed paranoid. Battle said Andres Avalos "started getting these wild notions about every man that walked by" his wife.

"He was incoherent most all the time," Jimmy Battle told the Times. "He always thought people were trying to do something they weren't."

According to the Herald, Battle's family has been upset that some media outlets have used "crime of passion" to characterize the murders.

Battle's mother Rhonda added that if her son had counseled Amber Avalos, the two of them wouldn't have been alone.

"Tripp was always careful to always have someone else present," she told the Herald.

Amber Avalos (Image source: Tampa Bay Times) Amber Avalos (Image source: Tampa Bay Times)

Along with his wife, Battle leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

The Battle family (Image source: Tampa Bay Times) The Battle family (Image source: Tampa Bay Times)

The church will hold a regular service on Sunday morning with an interim pastor, according to WFLA-TV.

"We want the world to know what a wonderful man our son was," Rhonda Battle told the Herald. "He loved this community. He wanted a church of diversity. He wanted people to love the Lord. If you didn't want to know what the Bible said, you didn't want to go to his church."

WFLA News Channel 8

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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