ATLANTA (AP) — Gunfire erupted in a church parking lot as a funeral wrapped up Thursday in an Atlanta suburb, leaving two people dead and another two wounded.
Police have not made any arrests in the shooting at Victory for the World Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, said DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish.
Kenneth Samuel, the senior pastor at the church, said the 1 p.m. funeral was for 19-year-old Ryan Guider. Guider was killed May 26 in retaliation for a home burglary, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Parish said 28-year-old Marcus D. Ventress, who is accused of fatally shooting Guider, is being sought for questioning. Parish said Ventress was not one of the six people who were detained on scene by authorities for questioning.
“Shots rang out and the police locked down the church,” Samuel said. “I was shocked to hear what happened. I had just finished my eulogy and tried to do the best I could to speak to the many teens about valuing life.”
Parish said the identities of the two killed and two injured have not been released.
Samuel said more than half of the few hundred people who attended the hour-long service had started to empty into the parking lot before the shooting occurred.
“Very tragic,” Samuel said. “Ryan was a good kid and his family did not have time to grieve him in a proper manner. Now, something like this happens. Very tragic.”
Chris Collier, a friend of Guider’s mother, told WSB-TV that she hid behind bushes when she heard the shots and then went back inside the church with others and hid inside a closet.
“I was really scared,” Collier said. “I thought we were all going to die.”
DeKalb Public Safety Director William Miller said people were hiding under cars, trying to avoid the gunfire.