Police say a homeless man was the shooter who killed a church administrator and critically injured a co-rector in Ellicott City, Md. News4's Derrick Ward reports.
One woman died and another was injured after a shooting at church in Howard County -- and police have identified the suspect as a man who frequently visited the church's food bank.
Police found the body of Douglas Franklin Jones, 56, in the woods Thursday night. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police also found a nearby campsite with personal belongings and believe Jones was living there.
Authorities identified Jones, who once lived in a house adjacent to the church, as a suspect in Thursday afternoon's double shooting at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Md.
Jones had recently become belligerent and argumentative on his visits to the St. Peter's food bank, Howard County police said.
"It's our understanding that over a period of time he became difficult and challenging for the staff there, belligerent," said Sherry Llewellyn, of Howard County police. "He was described as argumentative, and they recently asked him not to return."
Jones's anger with the church may have been the motive for the shooting, police said, but they don't believe any specific person was targeted.
About 5:20 p.m. Thursday, a custodian at the church found two women in the church's office suffering from gunshot wounds.
Brenda Brewington, 59, of Ellicott City, died at the scene, Howard County police said. Brewington was an administrative assistant at the church.
The Rev. Dr. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, 62, of Halethorpe, was transported to Shock Trauma with a gunshot wound. She is in critical condition. Kohn is co-rector at the church.
No one else was in the building at the time of the shooting.
The incident provoked grief, anger and prayerful reflection at the opening Friday of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland's two-day annual convention in Hunt Valley, said the Right Rev. Eugene T. Sutton, bishop of Maryland.
He said the anger was directed at a society that would let a deranged man have a handgun.
"How is it that someone as mentally unstable, and who is on the edge, mentally, how does he get a gun to wreak that havoc?" Sutton said. "And of course, it's very painful for us that that violence happened in a holy place."
Llewellyn said police were investigating the gun's registration and history.
Sutton said he planned to conduct a private service Sunday for members of the St. Peter's congregation at a nearby Episcopal church.
He said Kohn was unmarried and childless. He didn't know if Brewington was married or had children.
Kohn had a Ph.D. in pastoral counseling, Sutton said. He said he had asked her just last week to counsel members of another parish grieving over their priest's serious illness.
Brewington had served for seven years as St. Peter's administrative assistant, Sutton said.
"She worked directly with the community to provide assistance to those in need," he said. "Church secretaries, for most churches, are the first point of contact with those in need. The church secretaries are our front-line ministers, even more than priests."