Police are seeking a hooded gunman who horrified the congregation of a church when he paced the aisles and pulled out a gun and shot two teenagers.
No arrests had been made or suspects named in the Sunday shooting at New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ in Richmond, police said.
The gunman, flanked by two companions in hooded sweatshirts, walked into the church, scanned the pews and fired about five shots, hitting a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man in front of about 100 people, Richmond police Sgt. Bisa French said.
Charles Miller, a 64-year-old deacon at the church, said members of the congregation were about to tell the men to take off their hoods when the shooting began.
“I was listening to the choir and all of a sudden there was a ‘pop pop pop pop pop,’” Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Everyone hit the floor. I didn’t know the shooting was inside the church at first until I heard all of the hollering and screaming.”
The 14-year-old was hit in the shoulder and the 19-year-old was struck in the leg, French said. Both victims, whose names haven’t been released, were hospitalized and are expected to survive. There were no other injuries.
Investigators believe the men were targeting someone in the church but don’t know if the two who were hit were the intended targets, French said.
A handful of congregants returned to the church after police processed the crime scene and finished the service.
“We were giving thanks that nobody was killed. We wanted to go and serve the Lord anyway,” Miller told the Chronicle.