This morning at a church in Pelham, the New England Pentecostal Ministries, a peaceful and joyous wedding turned into a nightmare when a man in a hoodie walked in and shot Bishop Choate, who was officiating the day. The Bishop is receiving treatment at Tuft’s Medical Center in Boston now, after being transported from from Lowell General Hospital. He is reportedly in critical condition.
At 10:12 am Pelham Police received a 911 call about an active shooter. By the time Police arrived, a Church Deacon and several attendees at the wedding had tackled and held the gunman, who’s identity we now know from a release from Attorney General MacDonald. I will not share his name here.
The Union Leader reports that the Deacon had jumped from a balcony where videographers were recording the wedding after the first shot and tackled the gunman, whereupon he called for help and several others came to his aid. The church had received active shooter training from the Pelham Police Department over the last year.
Another 60 year old woman was shot in the arm during the encounter, and is receiving treatment at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua. A third injured was apparently struck with an object. He received treatment in Nashua also and was released.
The shooter is being held pending arraignment this Tuesday Oct 15 in Hillsborough County Superior Court. The church will be closed for services through October 20th, according to their website. They are soliciting prayers and well wishes for Bishop Choate and his family.
Early reports this morning were scattered, but we know that no fatalities have occurred.
The Church hosted a men/women’s group for Domestic Abuse this morning at 8:30, and a funeral for Minister Garcia was scheduled for noon, but the shooting started in the main chapel around 10:12 am during a wedding.
According to the Union Leader, Mark Castiglione was to be married this morning in the church. Mark’s son, Brandon, was arrested and is being held for the murder of Minister Garcia. They report that the Deacon who tackled the shooter recognized him as the stepson of the late Minister.
The Attorney General and Pelham Police are reporting that this does not appear to be a random incident, but it is still under investigation.
Will update again when more information becomes available. I have seen several posts from people that know Bishop Choate personally, and they have requested you keep him in your prayers. I will pass that request along to you and will do so myself.