The St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, was a scene of chaos this morning as the 70-year-old pastor of the church, William Schooler, was gunned down as he walked to the pulpit. The pastor was preparing to give his Sunday morning sermon when someone, allegedly his brother, opened fire from the pews. The pastor was shot and later died from his injuries as shocked churchgoers fled the building.
The Daily Mail reports that pastor William Schooler, 70, was shot and killed inside of the St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, as he walked towards the pulpit to give his sermon. The shooting, according to witnesses, took place as the choir was singing and Schooler first stepped behind the pulpit. Two shots were allegedly fired from the pews before people began to flee for cover.
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Authorities have confirmed the shooting and note that there were approximately 20 people in the small church at the time of the shooting and that a suspect, the pastor’s brother Daniel, has been taken into custody. Police say that the motive for the shooting is currently unknown but the pastor’s brother is currently the only suspect in custody. It was reported that the church shooting took place at approximately 12:30 pm.
According to WDTN, witnesses have noted that after pastor Schooler took to the pulpit, his brother Daniel allegedly followed him to the stage from the pews and began opening fire on the man. As the bullets rained through the church, parishioners ran from the building in a scene described as chaotic.
“They said the pastor had just walked back to the pulpit when the brother of the pastor who was seated in a pew got up and followed him to the pulpit. Witnesses said that is when they heard a couple shots fired. They said it was then a scene of chaos and everyone took off running.”
In addition to being the pastor of the tiny Dayton church, Schooler was also the president of the Dayton Baptist Pastors and Ministers Union of Greater Dayton, Inc. Schooler was also appointed as a member of the Dayton Board of Education as a well respected member of the community. Prior to taking his place as a pastor, Schooler was also a decorated Veitnam War Veteran and was honored with a Bronze Star during his service. He graduated in 1963 from Dunbar High School before graduating Central State University in 1972, the Ohio State University in 1976 and Grace College in Columbia, S.C., in 2003.
A pastor in Dayton, Ohio was fatally shot during services this morning https://t.co/7kb2Jb3NnV
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As if Schooler’s resume wasn’t impressive enough with his honored military service and education, he was also identified as a “member of the Montgomery County Family and Children First Committee, and his community service experience also has included serving as a certified city of Dayton mediator, chairman emeritus within the Priority Board system and former executive board member of CityWide Development Corp.”
Ronnie Moreland, a fellow community leader in Dayton, notes that Schooler was a “beloved leader” and would be greatly missed.
“He had deep roots in the community. He was a beloved leader. It’s hard to put into words what has happened.”
An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday, but authorities say the Ohio pastor died from his gunshot wounds that he sustained during the church shooting. In respect of Pastor William Schooler’s passing, a member of the Baptist Pastors and Ministers Union of Greater Dayton union said the Black History Worship Service scheduled for Sunday at Zion Baptist Church has been canceled.
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