Shooting in Mormon Church Leaves One Man Dead and Another Injured

In a disturbing story out of Fallon, Nevada, a member of the Mormon Church shot and killed another member during a service on Sunday afternoon.

48-year-old John Kelley O’Connor (above) waited until the sacrament service was over before he entered the main part of the church, found 61-year-old Bert Miller, and sprayed bullets into his body. For years, Miller had been “assigned by ward leaders to serve [O’Connor] and watch over him.”

Another bullet hit the leg of a churchgoer, but his injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening.

“I don’t know why you’d ever want to shoot Bert Miller. He’s the nicest guy in the world,” said Rich Hutchings, a ward member. “It’s absolutely shocking.”

“Pandemonium broke out,” ward member Steve White said. “People were screaming and hitting the ground.”

Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman said it is too soon to determine a motive, but it appeared O’Connor was targeting the deceased victim, not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or his congregation in general.

That last bit is worth remembering. While it doesn’t really make anything better, this wasn’t an anti-Mormon hate crime. It was, on the surface, targeted murder. As far as we can tell, O’Connor was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though his attendance at ward meetings had been sporadic over the past year.

It’s tragic no matter what we learn in the coming days. Your heart has to go out to the victim, his family, and everyone who had to witness that horrific event.

O’Connor apparently walked home after killing his target, but the police came for him and he immediately surrendered.

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