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2 Shot Inside Pelham, N.H. Church; Suspect In Custody After Wedding Guests Tackled Him, Police Say

The scene of the reported shooting in Pelham, outside the New England Pentecostal Ministries. (Michael Brindley/NHPR)
The scene of the reported shooting in Pelham, outside the New England Pentecostal Ministries. (Michael Brindley/NHPR)

A suspect is in custody after two people were shot at a church in Pelham, N.H. on Saturday morning, authorities said.

At around 10 a.m., Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark told reporters at a news conference Saturday afternoon that two people were shot at a wedding ceremony inside the New England Pentecostal Church. Police officers arrived at the scene to find that several wedding guests had pinned the suspected gunman to the ground.

Dan Holloway, 37, was arrested on charges including first-degree assault after law enforcement officials say he used a handgun to shoot the 75-year-old bishop presiding over the wedding in the chest, according to a statement from the New Hampshire attorney general's office.

The bishop, Stanley Choate, is in serious condition at a Boston-area hospital, the statement said.

At the press conference, Roark said the shooting did not appear to be a random event but did not disclose the nature of the suspect’s relationship with the bishop, the church or those attending the wedding.

There were about 40 people at the church for the wedding, he said.

Claire McMullen, 60, was the other person shot in the incident, suffering a gunshot wound to the arm, according to the AG's office. She is being treated at a local hospital and is in good condition.

Another man, Mark Castiglione, 60, "was struck in the head with an object" during the incident, the AG's office said. He was treated and released from a local hospital earlier Saturday.

Holloway is being held until his arraignment, which is scheduled for Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, N.H.

Before the shooting, the church was also preparing Saturday for the noon celebration of life for Luis "Kiko" Alberto Garcia. Garcia, a local minister, was shot and killed Oct. 1.

Those planning to attend the Garcia service were shocked by the shooting.

Donna MacIver of Weymouth, Mass., was there with her husband and son.

"It's very surreal. It's just surreal," she said. "Luis was shot, and now there's a shooting at his church."

"We're all devastated," said Norman MacIver, her husband.

Other parishioners and friends were saying prayers outside of the police tape.

Pastor Willie Bacote had arrived to celebrate the life of his friend.

"I'm at a loss for words," he said. "Luis was a man with so much joy — he had so much joy to offer everyone."

The church said on its website that Sunday services were canceled.

Pelham is a town of about 13,000 residents located on the border with Massachusetts. The New Hampshire attorney general's office and the major crimes unit of the New Hampshire state police are investigating.


Details from a story originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio were used for this report.

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