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Priest and parishioner slain in New York

A man opened fire with a rifle during a morning Mass at a Long Island church, killing the priest and a woman worshipper, authorities said yesterday.

Fr Lawrence Penzes, 50, was shot during the 9 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Peace Church, said Karen Montalbano, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Police said both Penzes and the worshipper had died the woman's name was not immediately released.

Police in riot gear had surrounded a nearby house where the suspect, described as 35 to 40 years old, was believed to be holed up. A man was removed from the house about 11:40 a.m. but police did not immediately say whether he was the suspect.

Lynbrook Mayor Eugene Scarpato said the second victim was a woman in her 70s. He said Penzes had apparently been shot in the back and that the woman was shot in the face.

Police said after the shooting, the gunman fled and was chased by two parishioners, including an off-duty lieutenant with the Lynbrook Police Department. They managed to wrestle the rifle from the gunman, who then ran into a nearby house.

Diocese of Rockville Centre
Our Lady of Peace Parish


13 Mar 2002