Update: Click here to read “Report: Shooting Suspect Killed Previous Wife”

LAKELAND, Florida (AP) — A gunman killed his wife at their Florida home and then burst through the front door of a nearby church on Sunday, wounding a pastor and associate pastor before parishioners tackled him, authorities and relatives said.

The suspect, 57-year-old Jeremiah Fogle, killed one person at a home about a block away from the church before shooting the pastors, the Polk County Sheriff’s office said. The two men, pastor William Boss and associate pastor Carl Stewart, were in critical condition. No other church members were hurt.

Maria Beauford said the slain woman was her sister, 56-year-old Theresa Fogle. The Fogles married in 2002 and ran a transportation business together. They had been members of Greater Faith Christian Center Church, where the shootings happened, but had started their own ministry out of their house and regularly hosted Sunday services, Beauford said.

Beauford said she had never known Jeremiah Fogle to be violent toward her sister. He had been sick over the past year and had back surgery, and Theresa Fogle nursed him back to health, Beauford said. She said her brother-in-law was always smiling at family gatherings.

“We have no idea what his motive was,” she said. “We just have no idea.”

Jeremiah Fogle’s older brother, Collis Fogle Jr., said that the couple never had a big wedding celebration and that they seemed to have gotten along well.

“It’s so sad,” Collis Fogle said. “I’ve been trying to call to figure out what went wrong.”

Authorities said Jeremiah Fogle ran through the doors of the Greater Faith Christian Church after a morning service had wrapped up and just before another daily service. The red-brick building also serves as a school and sits across from a mobile home park.

It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

Several police cars and police tape blocked off the church and the street in front. Ambulances and police cars rushed down the street when the shooting happened, neighbors said.

Neighbors said they often saw Fogle outside with his wife, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.

“They would cut up and laugh,” Doreen Carroll, who lives a couple of blocks away, told The Ledger of Lakeland.

A friend of Boss told the newspaper he is a unique pastor who is caring and works to help the community.

“He had a gift from God to speak,” said Reese King, sports director at a local radio station.

Click here to read “Church Shooting 911 Call: ‘Please Help Us’

Update: Click here to read “Report: Shooting Suspect Killed Previous Wife”
Associated Press writer Christine Armario contributed to this report from Miami.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


Mike Schneider

Associated Press