Advertisement

Archive for Monday, May 22, 2006

Church attack leaves 5 dead

Suspect captured after abducting wife, children

May 22, 2006

Advertisement

— A man gunned down four of his in-laws during a morning church service Sunday, abducted his wife and then shot her to death before he was captured nearby, authorities said.

Church members wept as they watched investigators examine evidence and search for clues. Anthony Bell, 25, of Baton Rouge, was arrested at an apartment complex, where his wife was found dead, police said.

It was unclear whether Erica Bell, 24, was killed at the complex, police said. Her three children, including an infant, also taken from The Ministry of Jesus Christ church were found safe, officials said.

Erica Bell's mother, church pastor Claudia Brown, was wounded and was in serious condition at a hospital, police said, but would not provide further details.

Brown's brother, Jeffrey Howard, said his sister had been shot in the back of the head but was able to give a statement to police.

Howard said Anthony and Erica Bell had some "domestic trouble" in the past.

Anthony Bell faces charges of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.

Police and relatives said those killed were Erica Bell's grandparents, Leonard Howard, 78, and Gloria Howard, 72; her great aunt, Deloris McGrew, 68; and a cousin Darlene Mills, 47.

"This is going to be one of the worst days in the history of our city," said Police Chief Jeff LeDuff, who did not know a motive for the shooting. "This is senseless. This is a total waste of human life."

The small church shares space in an old warehouse with a guitar shop in a nonresidential area of Baton Rouge.

Bell is believed to have entered and opened fire with a handgun shortly before services were to end around 10 a.m.

Hours later, police responded to a 911 call about a shooting at the apartment complex and found the woman dead and Bell holding the baby, LeDuff said.

Authorities said neither Bell nor his wife lived at the apartment complex.

It was unclear whether Bell was the father of the three children.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.