The incident occurred towards the end of the three-hour Sunday, Nov 23 service at the St Thomas Syrian Orthodox Kanaya Church in Clifton, when Pallipurath confronted his wife in the Church and shot her, along with another woman and a man.
Apparently apprehending trouble, Reshma had obtained a Court order restraining her husband from coming near her.
Police said she had suffered abuse right from the initial days of her marriage in Kerala, and after the couple moved to California, she continued to complain of abuse.
Recently, Reshma had left her husband to live with a relative in New Jersey.
About 200 people were inside the church at the time of the incident and police received several emergencies calls. Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the search for the suspect who escaped in a jeep.
Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi said he heard about the shooting while attending Sunday service in a different church.
"It's a shock, that somebody would have gone into a church like that," he told the media. "It's a terrible thing."
A local newspaper Record quoted friends of Malloosseril, one of the victim, as saying he was near death and family members were making arrangements to donate his organs.
James had moved from India, where she had an arranged marriage, to California in January with her husband. But church members said the relationship soon turned violent.
"He was beating her," Record quoted Rev Thomas Abraham Lahayil, the church's vicar, as saying. "She had a restraining order against him."
She fled Sacramento in California where the couple had their home and moved in with her cousin Perincheril, who is the church's Sunday school teacher.