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Two monks among three dead in murder-suicide at abbey

A gunman opened fire at a Benedictine Abbey in the US yesterday, killing two monks and wounding two other monks, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

The shooter was found in a chapel at Conception Abbey Benedictine monastery in Missouri with two weapons, an AK-47 and a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle, authorities said.

Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey said officers found a suspicious package in the suspect's car and that federal agents had been called in to investigate.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the shooter as a 71-year-old man from Kearney, which is about 100 km south of the Abbey. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Espey said.

The names of the victims, a 64-year-old monk and a monk in his 80s, were not released, but Espey said officers had been sent to the shooter's home with a search warrant.

Fr Gregory Polan, abbot of Conception, said monks heard noises about 8:40 a.m. and barred themselves in their rooms when they realised it was gunshots.

"There's a lot of shock and sadness," Polan said. "These were two monks whose lives have been lived here in a generous, gracious spirit."

Polan said he was shown a driver's license of the shooter and "we have no sense of who this man is."

Conception Abbey


11 Jun 2002