Authorities expected to announce charges against a gunman who
attacked a Missouri church sanctuary on Sunday killing three people
and wounding at least five others in the middle of a service for
The suspect, a man in his 40s from the Pacific islands, ordered
children out of the sanctuary before opening fire. He was being
held in the Newton County jail pending charges.
Police said the shooting was fueled by an altercation Saturday
night between the suspect and a family that belonged to the
congregation. It was not clear if the suspect was part of the
The gunman had two small-caliber handguns and one 9 mm
semi-automatic machine pistol with a large magazine, McCracken
said. The shooting came during the 1 pm service, which was attended
by about 50 people, ranging in age from children to the
One of those killed was Kernal Rehobson, 44, who led the
congregation, which was holding a service at the First
Congregational Church, police said.
The other two victims were male members of the congregation, who
were "what we would call deacons," said Dave McCracken, Neosho
police chief. Their names were not released because relatives were
still being notified.
He said police were told the five wounded people, all adults,
The gunman surrendered to authorities after about 10 minutes of
negotiation. He had briefly held 25 to 50 people hostage before
Calls to the church went unanswered.
The church rents out its sanctuary for a service for people from
the Micronesian islands in the Pacific. McCracken said Micronesians
began arriving in Neosho 20 or 25 years ago to work in the poultry
industry and about 200 live in the Neosho area.
Rehobson led the group of Micronesians for about 15 years and
ran a Micronesian store out of his house in Goodman, said Larry
The congregants used to meet at Rehobson's house and were using
the First Congregational Church for worship while they searched for
a permanent home, Zuniga said.
"This is a terrible tragedy which was made worse by the fact
that it happened in a peaceful place of faith and worship,"
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt said in a press release issued Sunday
(China Daily August 14, 2007)