Garland Police catch man accused of shooting youth pastor at church

| September 25, 2010

GARLAND – A man is in custody, accused of shooting a youth pastor, in front of 30 teenagers.

A youth meeting was in progress Friday night at the Walnut Park Asamblea De Dios/Gloria De Mi Dios in the 3700 block of Lawler Road when Josue Pablo, 20, of Mesquite walked up to the pastor, shouted obscenities, then shot him.

"He pulled the gun out and aimed it at us and he went back and shot the pastor," said Rolando Arellano.

Investigators say Pablo then shot another round outside of the church and ran away. No one else was hurt. Officers caught Pablo several blocks away.

The wounded pastor, Eddie Contreras, was taken to Parkland Hospital with what police say are non-life-threatening injuries. The bullet hit him in the cheek. He is currently in stable condition.

Pablo had come to the church with his mother, sister and 3-year-old twins Friday night. According to the senior pastor, Pablo's family had encouraged him to go to the church, because he was having personal struggles.

"This kid has psychological and internal issues and hated the church his mother attends," said Pastor Mauricio Elizondo Ramirez.

Ramirez told News 8, the suspect's family reached out to the wounded pastor and his family. Both met briefly at the hospital Saturday afternoon. They are focusing on Contreras' recovery.

"He's a great guy and I told him that we are going to be with him, for him and you might be down, but not out," said Ramirez. "You are going to have a great comeback."

While the church is offering its support to Contreras, it's also offering forgiveness to the suspect and his family.

"I was affected because I love my youth pastor, I do," said Arellano. "I do forgive him. I bless him and I just hope that where he's at, he also gets saved."

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Category: Church Security

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