A 28-year-old man fatally shot his father around 1 p.m. Sunday outside an Ashtabula church following Easter service.
The service had just about ended, at Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in Ashtabula, when according to our print partner the Tribune Chronicle, Reshad Riddle, 28, waited for his father, Richard Riddle, 52, to come out, before shooting him in the chest. Richard Riddle died from the single shot.
“The assailant came into the sanctuary and was standing in the pulpit, I didn’t see him but I could hear him, whatever rhetoric and stuff he was yelling, he’s doing it at that time with a gun,” said the church’s Associate Pastor, Steve Sargent.
Unaware of what was going to happen next, Sargent said police arrived almost immediately, taking the man into custody, who was still holding the gun.
“We located the alleged shooter inside the church where he was waiting, and we apprehended him with little incident,” said Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell.
About 150 people were inside the church when the shooting happened, most of them children.
Sargent said they plan to have grief counseling available, after what was supposed to be a joyous, spiritual celebration this Easter Sunday ended violently.
“Our minds are focused on the meaning of Christ and the Resurrection, but by the same token we’ve got to deal with the bereaved, the family that goes here who lost a loved one, and the tragedy of the violent world we live in,” said Sargent.
As they continue to investigate, they’re also trying to figure out what the shooter’s motives were.
“Obviously it’s unfortunate when anything like this happens,” said Stell. “It seems so much worse when it happens on a holiday when everybody’s here to come to church, be with their families and have a good day together and something terrible like this happens. And our hearts go out to the families and all the people who had to be here today to endure this.”
“But we’re going to persevere and if nothing else, even work harder to try to make a difference in the area that we’re in,” added Sargent. ”With so many of our people involved need to be lifted up in prayer because they’re traumatized to say the least.”