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Five killed in New Life Church, YWAM center attacks

Police think two separate shootings may be related.

Five people were left dead after shooting sprees at two Colorado megachurches Sunday. Five others were wounded.

Two people were killed and two wounded at the YWAM training center on the grounds of Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, a Denver suburb. A man walked into the center around midnight and after about 30 minutes of talking with staff members, he asked to spend the night there. The receptionist at the center told him no, that no unauthorized person were not allowed. The man reportedly said, "Then this is what I've got for you," pulled out a gun and began shooting.

About 70 miles away and 12 hours later, three people were killed after a man in similar dress opened fire at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Sisters Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael Works, 16, died from gunshot wounds. Their 51-year-old father, David Works, was shot twice in his abdomen and groin area and is in fair condition. Also wounded were Judy Purcell, 40, and Larry Bourbannais, 59. They were treated and released.

Witnesses told the Gazette in Colorado Springs that a man in a black trench coat opened fire in the parking lot setting off a smoke grenade before blasting cars and church members. Police said that the gunman was shot and killed by a plainclothes security guard with a law enforcement background and who is a member of the church.

New Life's senior pastor, Brady Boyd, said that after the YWAM shooting the church called in more than the usual number of security volunteers and "because of the extra precautions we saved many lives yesterday."

"They came to church with their families to worship, and what happened today was a tragedy," Boyd said at a press conference. "As a pastor, my heart is broken today for people that lost their lives."

Another Colorado Springs megachurch, Woodmen Valley Chapel, is providing grief counseling for New Life members, pastor-at-large Tim MacDonald told Christianity Today.

"We're in a sense of disbelief and surrealism that this would take place. We're still dealing with shock and after effects of what has taken place," he said. "We are so saddened by what's taken place, but we're helping in whatever way we can."

MacDonald said the shooting creates concerns for Woodmen's level of security.

"Our security plan is being scrutinized at this very moment," he said. "We're looking at what we need to do to have security without drawing away from the reason that people have come to church and that is to worship Christ."

The two dead victims at the YWAM center were identified as Tiffany Johnson, 26, of Minnesota and Philip Crouse, 24, of Alaska. Youth With a Mission leases property on Faith Bible Chapel's property.

George Morrison, the church's senior pastor, told Christianity Today that Crouse had put up Christmas lights at his house just two weeks ago. "It was tragic," Morrison said. "He was a young man that had a vision for his life and wanted to be involved in missions in Kazakhstan."

Morrison said church members were concerned and questioning, especially after hearing reports of the shooting at New Life. "These things happen in malls, in churches and in the world we live in, it's sad that we live with this. It's sobering that this could happen anytime, anywhere, to any person," he said. "We just have a sense that you have to move on."

The choir at Faith Bible Chapel had planned to kick off Sunday's service with "Joy to the World."

"We couldn't do it, Phil Waters, a member of the church choir, told The Denver Post. "There was no joy this morning."

The choir instead sang a piece about bringing offerings to God, he told the Post.

"We are really close to these kids," he said. "It was tough to be out there (singing) and not have tears running down your face."

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Related Topics:Church; Crime
Posted:December 10, 2007 at 8:58AM
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