Pastor dead, several injured in east Texas church shooting

SMITH COUNTY, Texas — A pastor was shot and killed Sunday morning at a church in East Texas after he was overpowered by a man he confronted, authorities said.

The pastor opened a bathroom door inside the Starrville Methodist Church and found a man hiding in there, according to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. The pastor was armed and drew his weapon, but the suspect was able to take the gun and shoot the pastor, Smith told KLTV.

Smith said one other person was shot and someone else was injured in a fall.

The suspect may have been hiding in the church following a shooting incident Saturday night, authorities believe.

After Sunday’s shooting, law enforcement were able to track down the pastor’s vehicle, which they said was stolen by the suspect. He was eventually taken into custody nearly 50 miles away from the church following a chase of over 120 miles per hour on an interstate

He was being treated at a Tyler, Texas, hospital.
Sunday morning services had not yet started when the shooting took place, authorities said.

The shooting suspect had a church bank bag when he was confronted by the pastor, according to Smith.

Winona is a small town about 100 miles east of Dallas. Starrville Methodist Church was built in 1853, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Sunday about the shooting.

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

The Associated Press and KLTV contributed to this report.

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