An Aurora, Colorado church service ended in tragedy when the pastor's mom was shot to death.
An argument between two drivers had broken out in the parking lot of the Destiny Christian Center, NBC 9 News reports. The reason behind the dispute is unclear, but one of the drivers was chased out of his car and entered the church, police said. Pastor De Lono Straham's mother, Josephine Echols, went outside to investigate the commotion and was shot.
Luckily for the other congregation members, the tragic event came to a quick end.
That's because the church's drummer was an off-duty police officer. He fired at the suspect, who has not yet been identified, and disabled him.
Both the pastor's mother and the alleged shooter were rushed to the hospital. They both died later that evening.
In all, three shots were fired, Yolanda Marant, media contact for the church, says. The incident occurred after 2 p.m. following the end of church services. Prior to the shooting, congregation members heard someone shout, "Get down." Witnesses then dispersed.
No one else, including the off-duty officer, was harmed.
Like most states, use of deadly force by police is permitted in Colorado. Cops are justified in its use whenever they reasonably believe it's necessary to defend themselves or others. They may also use it to prevent the escape of a suspect who attempts or commits a felony using a deadly weapon.
Following the pastor's mom shooting, the church has asked the public to keep Straham's family and the Aurora, Colorado house of worship in their prayers.
- Mother of Pastor Shot, Killed Outside Aurora Church (CBS Denver)
- The Destiny Center's Facebook Page (Facebook)
- Use of Deadly Force Justified in Rapper's Fatal Shooting (FindLaw's U.S. Ninth Circuit)
- Use of Deadly Force Against Suicidal Teen Was 'Reasonable' (FindLaw's U.S. Fifth Circuit)