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Two Dead, One Injured in Ellicott City Church Shooting

Two women were shot at St. Peter's and a man's body was found outside, police say.

Updated 11:25 p.m.

Two people are dead and one is in “very critical condition” after a shooting Thursday evening at an Ellicott City church, according to Howard County police. 

Police swarmed the neighborhood after a custodian at , 3695 Rogers Ave., Ellicott City, called police at about 5:20 p.m. to report finding two women shot inside an office in the building, according to Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County police spokeswoman.

One woman was pronounced dead at the scene; the other was taken to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma center. “Her condition was described as ‘very critical,’” Llewellyn said.

Residents in the quiet neighborhood called the incident "shocking."

After police searched inside the building, Llewellyn said, they found the body of a man in nearby woods.

There is a “very real possibility that this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Llewellyn said, adding that a gun was found near the man's body.

"We don’t know who the man in the woods is," she said.

Police were investigating a connection between the two incidents.

“It’s too early for us" to say what occurred at the church, Llewelyn said.

At about 6:40 p.m. a witness described the scene, saying there were at least 20 police vehicles around the church.

An hour later, police cars parked in the middle of Rogers Avenue blocked the road, while dozens of marked and unmarked cars, SUVs and vans lined the streets surrounding St. Peter’s, which was also teeming with media and residents.

Kelly Shaw, a court reporter who lives on the street, said the incident was troubling.

"I can't believe something like this is happening here," she said. "It's so shocking."

Andrea Mandato, a property manager, also lives nearby.

"This has always been a very quiet town," Mandato said. "Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims."

Sarah Goldsmith, in her 20s, lives across the street and said a friend heard a gunshot coming from the woods.

"It can happen anywhere," Goldsmith said. "Somebody goes crazy, and who knows?"

She said her 5-year-old sister saw the police presence outside, walked into the room and said, "There's a real bad man in the neighborhood."

Councilwoman Courtney Watson, whose district includes Ellicott City, called the incident “highly unusual” and told The Baltimore Sun she was sure the police department was “working diligently…to find out what happened and why.”

As of 9 p.m., the police presence had thinned as officers directed traffic and about a dozen residents talked to reporters.

After the shooting rocked a peaceful part of town, police came out in force—a SWAT team arrived and a helicopter swooped in, according to witnesses. is a half mile from the Howard County government’s campus.

Still, it is not immune from criminal activity. Last April, from the church. In , which was nonfatal, a 19-year-old Columbia man was critically injured after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at the Hilltop housing complex on Mount Ida Drive.

In September 2010, there was a , around the corner from St. Peter’s. The Ellicott City couple who died was reportedly in the middle of a custody dispute.

St Peter’s Episcopal Church has had a presence in Howard County for more than 150 years, according to its website. It describes itself as a diverse parish that is led by co-rectors The Revs. Kirk A. Kubicek and Dr. Mary-Marguerite Kohn.

With reporting by Patch.com editors Bruce Goldfarb and Brian Hooks.

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Updated at 8:15 p.m.

One woman is dead and another severely wounded in a shooting at a church in Ellicott City Thursday night, Howard County police said. A man's body was found in nearby woods with what police said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said a gun was found by his body.

Police responded to St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 3695 Rogers Ave., Ellicott City, around 5:20 p.m. when a church custodian called 911 to report that he discovered two women who appeared to have been shot.

One woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The other was transported to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition.

Their identities have not been confirmed.

Police said they found a man deceased in the woods near the church and were investigating his possible involvement in the women's shootings. Police said his injury appeared to be self-inflicted.

Councilwoman Courtney Watson, whose district includes Ellicott City, called the incident “highly unusual” and told The Baltimore Sun she was sure the police department was “working diligently…to find out what happened and why.”

This story was updated to include reaction, description of the scene and background information.

susan mcmurray May 04, 2012 at 04:34 AM
I pray this community finds peace and comfort through their loss.

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