A disgruntled homeless man fatally shot a secretary and critically wounded a priest at an Ellicott City church, according to a Delmarvanow.com news report. The homeless man, described as “argumentative and belligerent,” was reportedly turned away from a food bank because of increasingly aggressive behavior, which authorities believe may have been the motive for the shooting. After shooting the 59-year-old female secretary and the 62-year-old female priest for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the man killed himself in the woods where he lived with a handgun near the church, approximately 14 miles west of Baltimore.
The secretary, a resident of Ellicott City who worked for the church for seven years, was pronounced dead at the church after a custodian discovered the tragic scene and contacted police. Police and hospital officials report that the priest, who had been co-rector of the parish since 2009, was in critical condition at Shock Trauma in Baltimore after the shooting but later passed away. At the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland’s annual convention, the fatal shooting provoked anger, grief, and prayerful reflection. A Maryland bishop stated the anger was directed at a society that allowed a mentally ill individual to have a handgun.
Police are investigating the handgun’s registration and history. A spokeswoman for the Howard County Police department stated the homeless man may not have necessarily been targeting the pair, but they may have simply been the two people who were there when he arrived with the gun.
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