FALLON, Nev. — Authorities say one person is dead and another injured following a shooting at an LDS church chapel about 60 miles east of Reno, Nevada.
Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman says 48-year-old John Kelley O’Connor walked into the church on Sunday, opened fire and then walked home.
Ward members were locked down for hours afterward while emergency responders arrived. TV station KOLO reported O’Connor surrendered after negotiating with authorities who called his home.
Gehman says O’Connor shot and killed his home teacher, Bert Miller, at point blank range, just as the first speaker was starting to talk. While he could not comment on a possible motive, he says O’Connor appeared to have targeted one person, rather than the church.
“Initially, it does not appear that this attack had been directed upon the church,” Gehman said, “but the individual victim.”
Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford expressed sorrow.
“Tragedy has occurred today in the city of Fallon,” he said. “We’re all very sorry that it has.”
Gehman says it was clear the members of the church strengthened and supported each other through the ordeal.
“When I walked into where they were, I was really surprised by the strength,” he said. “Just the feeling in the room was, they were all shook up, but it was clear they were there for each other, doing the best they could.”
Members of the ward tell the Deseret News O’Connor had attended church sporadically but was known by everyone.
A statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reads:
“We have recently learned of a shooting in Fallon, Nevada, during a church service. Details are still developing, and inquiries should be directed to local law enforcement personnel.
We express our love to those in this congregation and our prayers for the victims and their families. Local leaders are ministering to them at this time.”
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