BROOKFIELD, Wis. (AP) – A man who killed seven fellow churchgoers said he was angry with his church and its meeting place was “going to be on the news” weeks before his shooting rampage, according to police records released Friday.

Terry Ratzmann made the comments three to four weeks earlier as he chatted with a clerk at a hardware store, police Sgt. Jason Pfeiffer said in a report among more than 800 pages of witness statements and other investigative records that describe the March shootings.

The records show investigators did not find a specific reason why Ratzmann was angry at the Living Church of God he attended. The group met at a Brookfield hotel.

“It is clear to me that Mr. Ratzmann was a disillusioned, disenfranchised and mentally unstable individual who felt, for whatever reason, the (Living Church of God) was the core of all his problems,” Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said.

On March 12, Ratzmann walked quickly into the back of the meeting room with a 9mm Beretta handgun about 20 minutes after service began, and witnesses said he methodically shot people from right to left – hitting the pastor and his family first.

Six of the seven victims were shot in the back, the autopsy said, and Ratzmann stopped once to reload. One of Ratzmann’s friends begged him to stop, calling him by name and saying “Stop, stop, why?”

Then he used the last of the 22 bullets he fired to shoot himself in the head, and slumped dead.

Bucher concluded last month that Ratzmann, a 44-year-old computer technician, had selected the pastor’s family “for execution” and then randomly shot others. Ratzmann lived with his mother, Shirley, who told investigators that although he did not seem suicidal, he was depressed about his job situation and was not pleased with his church.

A medical examiner’s report released in May said her son “did not agree with the new pastor’s point of view, but didn’t harp on it.”

Churchgoers were members of the Charlotte, N.C.-based Living Church of God, a group with 7,000 followers worldwide. The group tithes its members and pushes them to marry within the faith, which holds its Sabbath on Saturday.

AP-ES-09-02-05 1638EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.