Suspects sought after Richmond church shooting

| February 15, 2010

RICHMOND, CA (KGO) — Richmond police are hunting for three suspects who shot two teenagers during Sunday church services. They have identified the suspects and say an arrest could come as soon as Tuesday.

Deacon Ezekiel Wallace of New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ says the shooting is not going to shut them down. He says not only will the shooting not shut them down, but it will not scare them either. He says they are just upset and that the proof of their determination lies in the fact that parishioners have stepped forward, along with the 14 and 19-year-old victims of the shooting, to help police in this case.

There were more than 100 potential witnesses inside the church Saturday when three young black males walked in with black hoods over their heads. Then, one opened fire. One victim was hit in the shoulder and the other was hit in the leg. Both have been released from the hospital and police say they are cooperating with police.

"We have talked to numerous witnesses and we're just hearing from people in the street, and coming up with leads from that, and developing suspect information from there," said Sgt. Bisa French with the Richmond Police Department.

Pastor Archie Levias says he saw the suspects walking up and down the aisles but just thought "they were coming to church." Other church members say it seemed as if the suspects were specifically looking for their targets. Wallace did not see any of the shooting. But, he feels certain he knows something about the three intruders.

"It's God's house. Any person come into God's house and step over the boundaries, I don't care what church it is, something's wrong with them upstairs," he said. "Yes, it bothers us but we're not scared, not fearful. We're not going to run. We're going to keep doing what we do all the time, pray."

At the same time, some people who were in the church and those who live near it say more needs to be done to bring a semblance of law and order back to Richmond. After last week's killing of a pregnant woman and last fall's gang rape of a Richmond High School student on campus, some are saying police need to change the way they do business.

"I think the police have got to get out of their cars and get on foot and in the neighborhoods to talk to the young people instead of chasing them down all the time with cars," said Frank Robinson. "Get out here and see what's on their minds."

On the other hand, police point right back at the community and say, "Help us help you."

"We cannot do it on our own. We need the community members to come forward and help us with this," French said. "This is a community effort, not just a police department effort."

There is video of what happened inside New Gesthamane Church Saturday, but police say it is of no value to the investigation. They say if they are going to be getting any more new information, it will have to come from people who were inside the church during the shooting, or people hearing talk in the streets.

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Category: Church Security

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