62-year-old Pastor Mark McWilliams Killed In Shooting At Texas Church, Two Other People Hurt

A pastor was killed and two other people were hurt in a shooting at an East Texas church on Sunday, according to CBS report. Police identified the deceased victim as 62-year-old Mark McWilliams.

A suspect identified by law enforcement as Mytrez Deunte Woolen, 21, was taken into custody Sunday. Woolen is charged with one count of murder and two counts of aggravates assault. 

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to a shooting at Starrville Methodist Church, about 15 miles northeast of Tyler, at around 9:20 a.m. local time. Arriving deputies found two people shot and a third injured in a fall.

According to the department, there were no services at the time of the shooting.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said the suspected shooter had been involved in a pursuit on Saturday night that lasted about two hours with speeds in excess of 100 mph. According to police, Woolen abandoned the car on the property of Starrville Methodist after a crash and fled into the woods, where he was able to elude capture. Police recovered a shotgun from the vehicle.

Scene outside Srarrville Methodist Church, in Texas, after shooting on January 3, 2021. CBS Dallas

According to Smith, the next morning, Woolen confronted McWilliams at the church. The sheriff said the pastor was armed, but the Woolen was allegedly able to disarm him. McWilliams and another person were then shot before Woolen allegedly stole the pastor’s vehicle and fled the scene, Smith said. Police were able to apprehend Woolen after OnStar disabled the stolen vehicle.

McWilliams was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other person was taken to a hospital for surgery. The other person underwent surgery for non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement on the “terrible tragedy.”

“I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who apprehended the suspect, and I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for those affected by this horrific shooting,” he said. “The State of Texas is working closely with first responders and local officials to ensure that justice is served and that the Starrville community has the resources it needs during this time.”

Further details on the shooting were not immediately released as authorities continue to investigate.

CBS News