In Winona, TX police are investigating a non-religion based offense that has left a pastor dead and two others injured, CNN reports.
Authorities say that a manhunt had been underway for the suspect since late Saturday night near the Winona woods following a car chase. On Sunday morning the Pastor of Starrville Methodist Church found the man hiding in the bathroom. At the time of his discovery there were no ongoing services, just the Pastor, his wife, and two other unidentified individuals inside the building.
According to Smith County Sheriff, Larry Smith, the pastor pulled out his gun and ordered the man out , in which the suspect took the pastor’s weapon and begin shooting. The pastor was killed during the altercation and one other injured by the gunfire. It is reported that the suspect did flee the scene after stealing the victim’s vehicle.
At this time no identities of anyone involved has been released, along with the reason why the suspect was being pursued, aside from the car chase. Law enforcement does reassure the public that the church incident was not motivated by “religious animus” or anything church related, it was simply a matter of convenience for the suspect. There is a chance that the suspect will face a capital murder charge.
The Governor, Gregg Abbot, has made a statement sending his condolences to the deceased and injured.