A pastor was shot and killed in the middle of Sunday church service in Dayton, Ohio on 28 February, police said. The pastor, identified by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office as 71-year-old William Schooler, was allegedly shot by his brother as the choir sang.
The shooting occurred at St Peters Missionary Baptist Church after 12.30pm EST/5.30pm GMT. According to WDTN, police took the shooter, believed to be Daniel Gregory Schooler, into custody at the church. Daniel Gregory Schooler, 68, was arrested and booked into Montgomery County Jail, but charges have not been formally pressed.
Witnesses said the choir was singing when the shooter followed the pastor up to the pulpit and shot him. Chaos ensued as the nearly 20-person congregation took off running to safety, WDTN reported. Police were able to arrest the shooter upon arrival and pronounced the pastor dead at the scene.
"He had deep roots in the community," said Schooler's friend and fellow community leader Ronnie Moreland. "He was a beloved leader. It's hard to put into words what has happened."
According to the Dayton Daily News, the alleged shooter has a history of violence, with family members noting he suffered from mental health problems. In 2001, the alleged shooter was charged with felonious assault with a firearm specification and carrying a concealed weapon and given five years of probation.
A year later, Schooler attacked a 27-year-old woman, knocking her unconscious. The victim claimed the assault lasted 40 minutes and said she suffered cuts, contusions and other injuries. He was convicted of felonious assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to two years in prison. He was involved in several other incidents in 2007 and 2008.
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office announced that an autopsy for William Schooler is scheduled for 29 February. The pastor was formerly a member of the Dayton Public School Board of Education and the president of the Dayton Baptist Pastors and Ministers Union of Greater Dayton, Inc. The union told reporters that the previously scheduled Black History Worship Service at Zion Baptist Church was canceled in honour of the fallen pastor.