Church has ‘forgiving attitude’ for shooter who took elder’s life
Two days after a church elder was shot and killed…
A church elder is dead and another member wounded after a Sunday shooting in western Canada.
Gordon Parmenter, 78, died after an armed man entered the worship service of the Salmon Arm Church of Christ in British Columbia and opened fire, said the elder’s son, Dave.
“A young man just came in in the middle of the service with an assault-style rifle and targeted one man in the church, and it was my father, and shot him,” Dave Parmenter told Canada’s Global News.
The shooter briefly left the scene, the younger Parmenter said, but “came back a second time and was very focused on him again and shot him another couple of times.”
In that exchange, “he shot another man in the leg who happened to be in the way.”
Church members wrestled the shooter to the ground and held him until police arrived, Dave Parmenter said.
Police were called about 10:35 a.m. local time and took a suspect into custody. The suspect is known to the family, Dave Parmenter said.
Gordon Parmenter and his wife, Peggy, served as foster parents for troubled youths. Dave Parmenter said his father had “many years of fostering, many years of service in his church, many years of pouring his heart out to others.”
The shooter was not one of the couple’s foster children, but was a former neighbor who the Parmenters had helped, said Russ Kuykendall, a church member in Ontario who spoke with members of the Salmon Arm congregation. The young man, who suffers from mental illness, had recently moved back into the area and reconnected with the family, Kuykendall said.
Church members who knew the Parmenters told The Christian Chronicle that the family was known for their love and care for at-risk children.
Ian Blair Roberts served as minister and elder of the Salmon Arm church from 2000 to 2005. He described Gordon Parmenter as “a very godly man and a blessing to very many.”
The small congregation has been without a full-time preacher for four years, Kuykendall said, and is composed of members of a cappella Churches of Christ and independent Christian Churches.
Now, Christians across Canada and around the world mourn with the congregation — for the church elder’s family and for the shooter.
“I just know that everybody is sad,” Dave Parmenter said. “It’s such a sad thing to happen. There’s lots of victims now and the young man is also a victim.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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