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Pastor killed, two injured in US church shooting

by Will Maule

A local pastor has been killed and two others injured in a shooting at a Texas church. The incident occurred at Starrville Methodist Church in East Texas when, according to the police, a 21-year-old suspect was discovered inside the church's bathroom with a red bank deposit bag. 

After spotting the man, the church's pastor drew a firearm and pointed it at the suspect and asked him to leave. However, the suspect, Mytrez Deunte Woolen, disarmed the pastor before shooting and killing him. Two other church members were injured in the incident, with one suffering a fall and the other being treated in hospital for a gunshot wound.

Woolen was captured and taken into custody shortly after fleeing the scene in the pastor's car. 

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said that the suspect had suffered a gunshot wound to his hand, and that police had been pursuing him overnight, just prior to the incident. Smith also noted that there was no evidence to suggest the shooting was politically or religiously motivated.

"The church just happened to be the location that he was able to get into at the time," he explained. 

In a statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent his condolences and said an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

"Our hearts are with the victims and the families of those killed or injured in this terrible tragedy," he said. "I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who apprehended the suspect, and I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for those affected by this horrific shooting.

"The State of Texas is working closely with first responders and local officials to ensure that justice is served and that the Starrville community has the resources it needs during this time."

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