There was no obvious motive in the church parking lot shooting of an Idaho pastor who led the prayer at a weekend campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, police said.
A search continued for the suspect, a man with a history of mental illness who authorities say had attended services at the church before opening fire.
Altar Church pastor Tim Remington, who has counseled drug addicts and inmates in this city about 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington, was shot as many as six times Sunday, including in the head and lung, officials said. He was expected to survive.
Outreach pastor John Padula spoke with Remington’s doctors and said the 55-year-old is “going to be fine.” Remington prayed Saturday with the Texas senator in Coeur d’Alene, but officials do not know what prompted the shooting.
“We pray for his full recovery and are thankful for the efforts of law enforcement to ensure the attacker is swiftly brought to justice,” the Cruz campaign said in a statement Monday.
The Coeur d’Alene Police Department said it is looking for local resident Kyle Andrew Odom, 30, a decorated former Marine who should be considered armed and dangerous.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Police Chief Lee White said there was no immediate clue as to the reason for the shooting. White also said that Odom headed west to nearby Spokane after the shooting. Then he headed south and police lost his trail, White said.
White said Odom was armed when he attended services in the church earlier Sunday, and that the shooting toll could have been much worse.
Odom has no criminal record, but does have a history of mental illness, White said.
Odom served in the Marines from 2006-2010, winning an Iraq Campaign Medal and other awards, and rose to the rank of corporal. He later graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in biochemistry.
His family issued a statement Monday saying they were praying for the pastor’s recovery. “We are also praying for Kyle’s safe return and to get the help he needs,” the Odom family wrote. “We love you Kyle!”
Padula said Odom is not a parishioner and had no known connection to the church.
Remington remained heavily sedated on Monday and was not expected to resume consciousness until Tuesday, he said.
“It looks like everything is going to be fine,” Padula said Monday. “It’s amazing considering he was shot six times with a .45 at 15 feet.”
Remington is married and has four children, Padula said.
The suspect was inside the church during morning services, said Padula, who viewed footage from a security camera that captured the shooting.
The man wandered around, then went outside and waited in his car for about 10 minutes before Remington left the church around 2 p.m. Sunday, Padula said.
Remington opened his car door, and the shooter walked up behind him and started shooting him in the back, he said. Two men ran to help the pastor. Remington was shot in the lung, head, hip and shoulder, Padula said.
Remington has been threatened several times by addicts he tried to help through his faith-based recovery program, Padula said.
SOURCE: The Associated Press