One woman is dead and two men were left in critical condition on Sunday after being shot by 57-year-old Jeremiah Fogle. The suspect is said to have fatally shot his wife, Theresa Fogle, at their home in Lakeland Florida, before rushing down the street and into the Greater Faith Christian Church, where he opened fire, and seriously wounded Pastor William Boss and Associate Pastor Carl Stewart. No other members of the church were harmed in the attack.
Friends and family of the Fogle’s are left perplexed in the wake of the shootings. Maria Beauford, sister of the deceased, stated, “We have no idea what his motive was. We just have no idea.”
According to Beauford, she had not known Jeremiah Fogle to behave violently towards her sister. She also claims Fogle had been sick over the past year and had back surgery; that her sister nursed him back to health. Beauford said the Fogle’s married in 2002 and ran a transportation business together. They had once been members of Greater Faith Christian Center Church, but had started their own ministry out of their home and regularly hosted Sunday services.
Jeremiah Fogle’s older brother, Collis Fogle Jr., shares Beauford’s sentiment, claiming the pair seemed to get along rather well. “It’s so sad,” he said. “I’ve been trying to call to figure out what went wrong.”
Neighbor Doreen Carroll told the Ledger of Lakeland, “They would cut up and laugh,” while other neighbors claimed the pair was often seen together tending to their lawn.
Two members of the congregation, that Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd describes as “heroes,” interrupted Jeremiah’s shooting rampage. One ‘hero’, Derrick Foster, was kneeling in prayer when he heard Fogle tear through the front door of Greater Faith Christian Center Church. He heard shooting, then screams, AP reports.
“The first thing in my mind was, ‘I have to take this gun away,’” Foster recounts. He and another man tackled Fogle, while a third person struck the shooter in the head with a microphone stand. It took 4 minutes to wrestle the gun away from the alleged assassin, but not before he shot Pastor William Boss in the back of the head, and Associate Pastor Carl Stewart in the back and ear. In addition, Judd said that the suspect had 6 live rounds in his pocket and “was prepared to shoot even more.” The official word is that Jeremiah Fogle would be charged with murder and may face additional charges.
Expressing an assumption that’s no doubt on the minds of many, Sherriff Judd remarks,
“Of all the places you should be safe you should be safe in a house of worship. Especially on a Sunday morning.”