Lowell church murder suspect appears in court

| May 13, 2010

Eugene (KMTR) – Shock and surprise from all directions after a violent crime at a church in the small town of Lowell.

One man is shot dead, and police search for a motive while the shooting suspect, 34 year old Riley Gonzales appears in court on a murder charge.

Gonzales was captured about four miles away from the church where police say he shot Kenneth Mort, a man he knew well.

Gonzales is married to Mort's former wife.

Deputies say Mort was meeting with five other church members when they were confronted by Gonzales.

Police swarmed the Kingdom Hall Church responding to a hostage situation.

Inside the church building, deputies say Mort was gunned down.

The alleged shooter, Riley Gonzales, a former member, drove off.

Deputies found his car three miles from the church, on North Shore Road.

Lane County Undersherrif Thomas Turner says Gonzales was found about a half a mile from the vehicle after a massive search effort, on the ground and in the air.

"It was kind of the combination of the two that finally flushed him out of his area. That's where they were able to pick up the movement and the canine actually intercepted him."

On Thursday, Gonzales' family gathered in a show of support at the Lane County jail.

Nathan Gonzales says he is shocked by the allegations, and says this is not like his brother at all.

"I mean what do you do? You cry, you hug your family, and you go talk to those who count. What else are you going to do?"

Nathan says Riley's wife has two children who live with them.

He says his brother is a family man and a good guy and when he spoke with him a couple of weeks ago, no red flags stood out.



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Category: Church Security