A gunman opened fire inside an Iowa church parking lot on Thursday evening, June 2, killing two young women before turning the gun on himself.
The shooting took place in the parking lot of the Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa, shortly before 7pm as a youth ministry program was taking place inside the church.
A statement from a representative of the church characterized the victims as being ‘young members’ of the church community, though their ages are not known. It is believed the gunman shot himself.
The representative described the shooter as an ‘adult male.’
Story County Sheriff Capt. Nicholas Lennie said that 911 calls reporting the shooting began to come in at 6:51pm on Thursday evening.
The shooting took place in the parking lot as people were inside the church attending the weekly Salt Company youth ministry event.
Two young women were killed before the gunman died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot, according to police. None of their ages or identities are known, but a representative of the youth ministry group said the victims were members of the church.
‘We are grieving deeply,’ said Mark Vance, of the Salt Company youth ministry at the Cornerstone Church, ‘Tonight, a tragic shooting occurred involving two young members of our Cornerstone Church community. It is believed that an adult male shot these two victims and then took his own life.’
Vance declined to give further details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
Churchgoers reportedly remained on the grounds and inside the church for hours after the shooting.
Photos shared online show groups of people hugging one another in tears at the scene of the shooting.
In a tweet, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds characterized the shooting as ‘senseless violence.’
‘Tonight’s act of senseless violence took the lives of two innocent victims at their place of worship. Kevin and I grieve for the families who have suffered an unfathomable loss.’
The shooting is another in a string of mass shootings that have plagued the US in recent weeks.