A church pastor and the bride were wounded Saturday morning when a man opened fire at a wedding in a Pelham, New Hampshire, church — and it all may be related to the murder earlier this month of another of the church’s pastors.
Police identified the suspect as Dale Halloway, 37, who was “gang-tackled” by guests at the wedding after he shot Bishop Stanley Choate, 75, and Clare McMullen, 60. Groom Mark Castiglione was hit in the head by an object during the shooting, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Castiglione, 60, is the father of Brandon Castiglione, 24, who has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Luis Garcia, another pastor at New England Pentecostal Ministries, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported, citing a church member.
New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said that police were looking into whether the death of Garcia and the shooting on Saturday were related. A Dale Halloway was listed as Garcia’s stepson in his obituary, according to the New Hampshire Union-Leader.
The Eagle-Tribune said that Choate, who was shot in the chest, was initially taken to Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts and then flown to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, according to officials. A statement from the attorney general’s office said he is listed in serious condition.
McMullen and Mark Castiglione were taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua. A spokesman there said a woman with a gunshot wound was in stable condition, and a man was treated and released for minor injuries, according to the Union-Leader.
Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said that some of the guests who participated in the takedown of the suspect suffered minor injuries, according to WMUR.
“From my understanding, they basically gang-tackled him,” Roark told WCVB.
Roark said the shooter arrived after the wedding began shortly after 10 a.m. and used a handgun. The church had recently undergone active shooter training, he added.
The Union-Leader reported that church member Janail Archer told the paper that she had spoken with her father, Othniel Archer, a deacon at the church who was there at the time of the shooting. She said her father told her he saw a man in a hoodie enter the church from his vantage point in a balcony used for videotaping. The man walked to the pulpit, Archer told his daughter, and shot Choate and McMullen.
Archer also told the paper her father recognized the shooter as the Garcia’s stepson.
As CrimeOnline reported earlier, a celebration of life for Garcia was to be held at the Pelham church at noon. Garcia was shot and killed on October 1 at a home in Londonderry owned by Mark Castiglione, the Union-Leader reported. According to the paper, Garcia had been trying to help the younger Castiglione, who had several run-ins with law enforcement. Garcia’s family said the pastor had been using the young man to do some painting at his home.
The service for Garcia was cancelled after the shooting, as were all services scheduled at the church through October 20.
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[Feature image: Stanley and Ruth Choate/New England Pentecostal Ministries Facebook]