New York, Nov 24 (UNI) What should have been a routine day of prayer turned into a nightmare for nearly 200 Churchgoers most of whom hail from Kerala at a Church at Clifton township in neighbouring New Jersey.
Shocked congregants with tears emerged from the Church after a 27-year-old California gunman shot three in the head, killing his estranged wife from an arranged marriage, and leaving the other two victims clinging to life, according to New Jersey.com and other news reports.
Joseph ''Sanish'' Pallipurath of California was described by police as the person responsible for the nightmare that occurred early yesterday.
Reshma James, 24, died about 1600 hrs (local time), the reports quoted police as saying. The other two victims, identified by fellow parishoners as Dennis John Malloosseril, 23, and Silvy Perincheril, 47, were in what was termed as ''very critical condition.'' The incident occurred as the three-hour prayer service ended at the St Thomas Syrian Orthodox Kanaya Church.
Friends of the 33-year-old person said he was near death and family members were making arrangements to donate his organs.
The gunman from Sacramento, California, had driven all the way from there to track down his wife and was still at large, Clifton Police Captain Robert Rowan said, according to the reports.
The alleged killer had fled before police arrived. Authorities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Jersey state police and several county agencies were looking for him.
He was last seen driving a California licence plate vehicle.
Police were of the view that he had a white handgun.
Reshma James, the reports said, was trying to escape from an abusive matrimony. Silvy Perincheril was her cousin and has three children.
James had earlier obtained a court order preventing her husband from coming close to her. It was also with this view that she had left her husband to live with a relative in New Jersey.
UNI XC RJ VC1910