When members of the New Destiny Christian Church heard the sounds of a car crash in the parking lot Sunday afternoon, 68 year old Josephine Echols, a registered nurse and mom of the pastor, was among the first to step outside to see if anyone needed medical help.
Unfortunately, she was met outside with a gunman who would ultimately shoot and kill her near her Aurora church Sunday afternoon.
Aurora Police say the shooting happened at the Destiny Christian Center, located 10600 block of East Bethany Drive.
According to Yolanda Marant, the media contact for the church, the shooting happened towards the end of service Sunday, sometime after 2 p.m.
“Our drummer was waving for a couple of people in our service to come out,” Marant said about the end of the service.
She says the drummer waived for the off-duty officer and the pastor’s mother to come outside.
Marant told 9NEWS the drummer, an off-duty police officer and the pastor’s mother were outside and then the congregation heard, “get down.”
“I’ve never been in any kind of trouble. I’ve never heard a series of shots,” Marant said. “Three shots back to back. All of a sudden, people were told to get down. We hit the floor, our kids were on the floor. [We told] everyone not to go outside.”
The congregation hid in different rooms.
Marant said, “Only God protected us.”
Aurora Police say the shooting suspect and the pastor’s mother were shot and taken to a local hospital.
According to Echol’s son, his mom was shot five times before his cousin — an off duty Denver police officer — shot and killed the gunman.
“They both people were rushed to the hospital. When they were transported, they were in serious condition,” Officer Frank Faina, spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department said.
The pastor of the church, De Lono Straham, tells 9NEWS his mother, Josephine Echols, lovingly called “Mother Jo” by church parishoners, passed away on Sunday evening.
Police say the suspect also died.
Officers say the suspect was shot by an off-duty Denver Police officer, who is a member of the church and is the pastor’s cousin.
The shooter was has only been described as being a young man.
“It literally just happened,” Marant said. “We’ve never seen the young man before in our lives.”
The church released the following statement Sunday evening:
“Please keep Pastor Delono Straham, the Straham family and The Destiny Center in your prayers.”
One thing is for certain, primetime or not, Oprah has no problem with snagging the big interviews.
She is well respected and trusted by most of the leading celebrities in the business. Given her close relationship with Whitney Houston, it comes as no surprise that she will be the first [and probably only] one to talk to those closest to the late singer, about how they have been affected by her death. Check out the trailer below!
America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon visited ABC’s “Good Morning America”, revealing the cause of the multiple hospitalizations he has faced since the top of the year.
Cannon who recently resigned from his morning radio show in February, citing health concerns spoke of his rare auto-immune condition and the changes he has been making since finding out what has been happening to him.
“The technical term is lupus nephritis,” he explained. “It’s a rare form of lupus that’s just attacking my kidneys. They thought it was just kidney disease and then they were trying to figure out why my immune system was attacking my kidneys and that was sort of the root of it all.”
Cannon revealed that he was surprised by the diagnosis, especially since he was initially diagnosed with kidney failure while on a family vacation with his wife Mariah Carey and their twins Moroccan and Monroe.
Lupus is unique to it’s carrier, meaning that no two cases are alike, which makes it all the much harder to find a cure.
Did you know that African American women are up to three times as likely as white women to get lupus? However, Lupus does not discriminate, people of all ethnicities and races.
African American women tend to develop lupus at a younger age and have more severe symptoms than white women.
Fans of songstress Toni Braxton, who follow her show Braxton Family Values that airs on WeTV, have become well aware of her battle with Lupus over the last few seasons.
Despite the mixed reviews, Tyler Perry had a very good showing for his latest film, Good Deeds, which opened in theatres this past weekend.
The film starring Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, and Gabrielle Union, came in second at the Box Office, raking in 16 million during it’s opening weekend. Act of Valor, a film about the Navy Seals, topped the charts, making 24.7 million during it’s opening weekend.
Congratulations to Tyler Perry on his success.
Have you seen the movie? Let us know what you think.