PELHAM, N.H. — A gunman opened fire at a wedding ceremony inside a New Hampshire church Saturday, shooting two people including the presiding bishop before guests tackled the shooter and pinned him to the ground until police arrived, authorities said.

Dale Holloway, 37, has been charged with first degree assault for shooting Stanley Choate, 75, in the chest at the New England Pentecostal Ministries church, according to the state’s attorney general office.

A second person, Claire McMullen, 60, was shot in the arm. A third person, Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head by an object. Choate, the presiding bishop at the wedding, is in serious condition at Tufts Medical Center in Boston while McMullen is in good condition at a local hospital. Castiglione was treated at a hospital and released.

Holloway is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. It was unclear if he is represented by an attorney.

Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said no fatalities were reported in the church shooting.

“This does not seem to be a random event, at least at this point,” Roark said during a news conference Saturday afternoon outside the police department.

Roark did not offer a motive for the shooting.

Police were called to the church shortly after 10 a.m. in Pelham, a town of about 13,000 on the border of Massachusetts. Pelham is nestled between Concord, New Hampshire’s capital, and Boston.

“A coward walked into my family’s church today,” Neivia Choate, who identified herself as the bishop’s niece, wrote in a Facebook post, asking people to “get on your knees and pray for my family.”

Roark said the church had just received active shooter training from his department within the last year. He didn’t know if people who subdued the shooter were trained the same way but “I think that is a standard that is being taught now to address the threat.”

A funeral was scheduled to be held at the church after the wedding for 60-year-old Luis Garcia. Garcia had been a minister at the church. He was shot and killed earlier this month and Brandon Castiglione, 24, has been charged in his murder and is jailed. It was unclear if the two shootings were related.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said in a tweet that she was “deeply disturbed” to hear of the shooting.

“Today was supposed to serve as a celebration of the life of Minister Luis Garcia,” she wrote, adding, “This senseless violence can’t continue.”

A Domestic Abuse Month event was also scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to the church’s calendar.

Sunday services at the church have been canceled, according to the attorney general’s office. Crisis counselors will be available Sunday at Sherburne Hall community center in Pelham from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Washington Post reporters Laura Kiesel, Kayla Epstein and Hannah Knowles contributed to this report.


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