The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



January 24, 2008

Pennsylvania: Autopsy today for church shooting victim

State police investigating the fatal shooting of Rhonda Smith, 42, yesterday at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bucks County, called the incident "suspicious"—but have not said whether the shooting was self-infliced or a homicide. An autopsy is being performed today.

Meanwhile, 80 mourners gathered at the church earlier today to pray and to grieve the woman who was volunteering as receptionist while the pastor, Gregory Shreaves, was attending a retreat.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported from the service:

"Perhaps you are here because you are frightened or scared of shocked or because you can't believe violence came to our country community," Shreaves said.

He described Smith as a daughter, sister and aunt whose brother is currently returning from Afghanistan.

"We are not here today to speculate about what might have happened in this tragedy," he said, calling on everyone at the prayer vigil to allow the police to continue their investigation."

For the full story, see Shock, grief over fatal Bucks church shooting.


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Embracing diversity