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WATCH NOW: 1 dead, 1 injured after man fires into crowd at church, police say

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GARY — One person was killed and another injured Saturday afternoon when a man fired into a crowd of mourners at Sts. Monica and Luke Catholic Church in Gary.

Police identified the fatal shooting victim as a 41-year-old man from Merrillville. He was found unresponsive outside the church and transported to Methodist Northlake Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.

While police were securing the scene, officers found a 41-year-old man from Gary inside the church with a gunshot wound.

He also was transported to Methodist Northlake and remains in stable condition, police said.

Police described the shooter as a light-skinned black man who fled on foot around 2:15 p.m. after shooting into the crowd outside the church in the 600 block of Rhode Island Street.

Officials did not immediately identify a motive for the shooting.

Following the incident, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince vowed "we will find whoever is responsible for this cowardly act and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

"It is beyond comprehension how anyone can attack a family already in mourning," Prince said. "On behalf of my family and our city, our hearts and prayers go out to every person who was affected by today's violent act outside of Sts. Monica and Luke Church."

Father Michael Surufka, pastor of the church, said a local family who are not parishioners rented the parish hall to hold a luncheon following the burial of a young family member.

Gary Bishop Robert McClory, speaking on behalf of Surufka and the church, is asking the faithful of the diocese to join with Gary residents in praying Sunday for the family, who he said already has lost so much.

"We pray that the family and their loved ones may be comforted as they begin to process this terrible tragedy," McClory said.

"Let's recommit to compassionately care for one another, ardently stand for the value of all life and offer hope in our merciful God. May this scourge of violence end. Let us pray that our hearts be not hardened but moved with compassion. In a world filled with sorrow and brokenness, let us offer encouragement and peace."

Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call the Lake County Metro Homicide Unit at 219-755-3866, or the Gary Police Tip Line at 866-CRIME-GP.

Sgt. Kris Adams is lead investigator for the case.


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