As the nation looks for answers about the deadly church shooting in Houston, another incident outside of a church in Fresno, Calif. has left a town in mourning.
According to ABC30 (KFSN-TV), Manuel Garcia killed estranged wife Martha Garcia and her boyfriend in the parking lot of St. Alphonsus Church in southwest Fresno. The shooting happened Sunday (Nov. 5) after the church’s 7:30 AM service. Martha, 61, was leaving the service with the unidentified man when Garcia opened fire.
Fresno Bee adds Martha died on the scene and her boyfriend passed Sunday evening at Community Regional Medical Center.
Police chief Jerry Dyer told reporters Garcia drove to the family home after the shooting and committed suicide. Before taking his life he sent text messages to their daughter, confessing to the crime.
Manuel and Martha were married for 43 years before Martha filed for a divorce a month ago. They still decided to live together, but had separate rooms. There were no previous reports of domestic violence between the gunman and the victim.
Priest Dominic Rajappa told police that himself and parishioners in the church could hear the gunshots from inside. “So when we went there and other people went there I saw the lady dead in the car so she was shot dead,” he said. “The other man was on the floor there, a lot of blood.” Priest Rajappa added that he didn’t notice the victims as regulars to the church but still showed compassion.
“We are people of God and we need to love God we need to love our neighbor we need to teach our people with dignity, violence enemy, violence hatred, there’s no place.” he said.
Families of those killed at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas are also mourning their losses. Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 and injured 20 parishioners before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday morning. The youngest victims included a 14 year-old girl and an nearly 1 year-old infant. Reports have claimed gunman’s in-laws were attendees of the church and the incident may have stemmed from a “domestic situation.”
“We know that his ex- in-laws or in-laws came to church here from time to time,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CNN Monday (Nov. 6). “They were not here yesterday. So we don’t know why he actually showed up yesterday.”