Pelham, New Hampshire, Church Shooting: What We Know

Authorities said the gunman shot a bishop and bride during a wedding at New England Pentecostal Church before being tackled by guests

A bishop and a woman were shot and a suspect is in custody after a gunman opened fire during a wedding in Pelham, New Hampshire, on Saturday, authorities said.

The Victims

One of the gunshot victims has been identified as Bishop Stanley Choate, according to the New Hampshire attorney general's office. He was transported to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where his condition is serious, authorities said.

The second shooting victim, 60-year-old Claire McMullen. She was shot in the arm, the attorney general said. She was treated at a New Hampshire hospital and released on Sunday.

One other victim, Mark Castiglione, 60, was not shot, but suffered a head injury from being struck with a firearm, authorities said. He was treated at a local hospital and released Saturday.

McMullen and Castiglione were the bride and groom in the wedding, Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said.

The Shooting

The shooting occurred at New England Pentecostal Church on Bridge Street some time after 10:12 a.m., Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said. Guests at the wedding tackled and subdued the male shooter by the time authorities arrived, Roark added. 

Upon arrival, authorities found a man and woman suffering from gunshot wounds.

Roark said the wedding — attended by some 40 guests — had begun by the time the gunman entered the building and fired a handgun.

Other guests "basically gang-tackled" the suspect, Roark said.

The Suspected Gunman

The suspect has been identified as 37-year-old Dale Holloway, the attorney general's office said. Authorities earlier said the suspect's last name was "Halloway."

He has been arrested and is facing charges of attempted murder, causing bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon, second-degree assault, simple assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

"This does not seem to be a random event," Roark told reporters.

The Search for a Motive

Less than two weeks ago, another shooting also disrupted the New England Pentecostal Church in Pelham. A beloved priest of the church, Luis Garcia, 60, was found fatally shot in a Londonderry home. A man named Brandon Castiglione, 24, was charged on Oct. 2 with second-degree murder in the death of Garcia. He waived arraignment and is currently being held without bail.

Castiglione is the son of groom Mark Castiglione. While suspect Holloway is the stepson of Garcia, for whom a celebration of life service was scheduled to take place at the church after the wedding Saturday.

Geraldo Pagan arrived at the church Saturday morning for Garcia's celebration of life only to find out it wouldn't be happening.

"We just came and we just found all this chaos and all this police and they just told us that that the activity will be canceled," he said.

Sunday services at the church were also canceled.

Authorities have not confirmed whether the two shootings are linked, but acknowledged it is being considered in the investigation.

The Community's Reaction

In a tweet, Sen. Maggie Hassan said she was "deeply disturbed" by the incident.

"Today was supposed to serve as a celebration of the life of Minister Luis Garcia. This senseless violence can’t continue — my prayers are with the victims of this terrible attack," she said. 

Despite the multiple shootings recent weeks, members believe their church community is resilient.

"I wouldn’t pick a different community to be a part of," said Janail Archer, who says her father, Othneil Archer, is a deacon at the church.  

The Boston office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its Manchester, New Hampshire, field office responded to the scene.

What's next?

Due to Monday's holiday, Holloway is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

State police are continuing to investigate the incident. Anyone with information is urged to call Sgt. Kelly Healey with the major crime unit at 603-628-8477.

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