Police: Man shoots girlfriend, fatally shoots self outside church

Woman in critical condition, authorities say

Published On: Dec 09 2012 03:51:11 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 10 2012 01:03:33 AM EST
Sunrise Shooting Picture
SUNRISE, Fla. -

Police say a man shot his girlfriend several times before fatally shooting himself in front of a South Florida church.

The shooting happened at the Faith Center along Northwest 95th Avenue and 55th Street in Sunrise.

Local 10’s Terrell Forney reported the gunfire happened just minutes after Sunday service.

"I heard gunshots like, ‘Boom, boom!’ I thought it was fireworks,” said parishioner Henrietha Gary.

"They basically told everyone to go inside and to get back into the sanctuary," said churchgoer Daron Thompson. "What could I do? I just prayed."

But just as the attention swarmed around the critically injured woman, panic set in among the hundreds of parishioners.

"I looked back and I saw a couple behind me getting behind a vehicle squatting, saying, ‘Get down. There's gunshots.’ And I started hysterically screaming and running with my grandbaby,” said Gary.

When the smoke cleared, detectives realized a gun-wielding man took aim at his girlfriend, authorities said. According to detectives, he was waiting to strike as the woman and her 12-year old-daughter walked out of church. The woman’s 12-year-old daughter was in the car at the time of the shooting, police said. The man turned the gun on himself after he shot into the car, police said.

"She was able to get into her vehicle after being shot multiple times and drive across the parking lot where she was located,” said Michelle Eddy with the Sunrise Police Department.

The victim was taken to Broward Health in critical condition and rushed into surgery, police said. The man was also transported to the hospital and later died there.

The identities of both the woman and man were not immediately released.

Forney reported the church was packed because of a star preacher. Minister Benny Hinn was the guest speaker for the day, delivering a spiritual message to a congregation now leaning on its faith more than ever.

"It's a tragic thing that happened, but we're people of faith and we're going to continue to walk with Christ and believe in God that he's going to bring us through this,” said churchgoer Gloria.