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LDS shooting witness: ‘People were screaming and hitting the flooring’

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Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, Nevada the place a deadly shooting came about on Sunday, July 22, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — As the trademarks of the sacrament were being handed all through the Fallon third Ward’s church assembly early Sunday afternoon 60 miles east of Reno, Nevada, John Kelly O’Connor sat on a sofa in the west lobby simply outdoor the chapel with a couple of different individuals of his LDS congregation.

When the sacrament carrier used to be whole and as the assembly’s first speaker started to speak, O’Connor, 48, stood up, walked via the chapel’s west door, drew a handgun and at point-blank vary shot and killed Bert Miller, 61, a person he had identified for years, witnesses and police stated.

“I don’t know why you’d ever want to shoot Bert Miller. He’s the nicest guy in the world,” stated Rich Hutchings, a ward member. “It’s absolutely shocking.”

Miller died in an obvious hail of bullets. Witnesses reported listening to 4 to 8 pictures from a formidable handgun.

“Pandemonium broke out,” ward member Steve White stated. “People were screaming and hitting the ground.”

“It was very loud,” Hutchings stated.

White stated he heard 4 to 5 pictures. Hutchings stated he did not depend, however idea it would had been extra.

Both males were on the east facet of the chapel when the shooting started. White stated he seemed up and noticed a person in a gloomy blue blouse go away via the chapel doorways on the west facet of the development. He remembered greeting O’Connor in the hallway ahead of the assembly and that O’Connor were dressed in a gloomy blue blouse.

One bullet struck every other guy, who used to be visiting the congregation from out of state. The bullet struck him in the leg. Police stated the harm isn’t thought to be to be life-threatening.

Witnesses and police stated O’Connor pointed the gun at every other ward member who faced him, then walked again via the chapel door, out of the Fallon South Stake Center, 750 W. Richards St., and to his house a block away, 901 McKay Court.

Fallon police and Churchill County sheriff’s deputies temporarily surrounded O’Connor’s house. A hostage negotiator reached O’Connor through telephone, and he agreed to give up to officials.

Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman stated it’s too quickly to resolve a cause, however it gave the impression O’Connor used to be concentrated on the deceased sufferer, now not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or his congregation on the whole.

Gehman stated Fallon police were collecting knowledge, getting ready a seek warrant for O’Connor’s place of abode Sunday and accomplishing witness interviews.

The sacrament assembly started at 12:30 p.m. Police stated they gained a 911 name at 12:58 p.m. One witness stated police requested ward individuals to stick after church till after four p.m., gathering written statements and accomplishing witness interviews.

An LDS Church spokesman issued a remark Sunday afternoon.

“We have recently learned of a shooting in Fallon, Nevada, during a church service,” Eric Hawkins stated. “Details are nonetheless growing, and inquiries will have to be directed to native legislation enforcement group of workers.

“We express our love to those in this congregation and our prayers for the victims and their families. Local leaders are ministering to them at this time.”

“It’s traumatic,” Hutchings stated. “I feel so bad for the Miller family. Bert’s been 100 percent active all his life and a good servant, and he’s never done anything wrong in his life. It’s just shocking today could turn into something like this.”

Two church individuals stated O’Connor had attended ward conferences sporadically over the previous yr.

LDS Church coverage prohibits weapons in church conferences.

“Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world,” according to Handbook 2, a handbook for church leaders. “The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.”

After the shooting, every other member of the ward faced O’Connor, who pointed the gun at him and stated, “This isn’t about you,” Hutchings stated.

Police moved the congregation into the cultural corridor and sealed off the chapel, in keeping with White.


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A person with O’Connor’s similar title and deal with ran as a Libertarian for the District 38 seat in the state meeting in 2014, dropping the common election.

His marketing campaign site mentioned, “As your Assemblyman, I will support a joint resolution to amend the Nevada Constitution to impose term limits on those who have managed to avoid them,” in keeping with Ballotpedia. He additionally stated he would inspire the state meeting to cross law prohibiting the taxation of intrastate firearms, ammunition, portions and equipment produced and bought in Nevada.

In 2010, O’Connor misplaced as the Democratic Party’s candidate for District 35.

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