Police investigate drive-by shooting near church

By Janice Gregorson

Authorities are investigating whether the drive-by shooting of a parked van's windows Tuesday is connected to the theft of money from a local church.

Police Capt. Jim Pittenger said the shooting occurred in the 10 block of Seventh Avenue Northwest, and it appears the van was targeted. The owner of the van is one of the people who recently reported the theft of some $30,000 from one of the accounts of the Greek Orthodox Church. At the time of the shooting, the owner was inside the church, and the van was parked nearby.

Pittenger said the first call about gunshots came in at 7:30 p.m. More calls came around 8 p.m.


The owner of the minivan was one of those making a report. He said he heard shots being fired, went outside the church and found a window of his van shattered. Police arrived and found evidence of at least one bullet being fired at the car. A bullet fragment also was found in the side of nearby Lourdes High School and might have ricocheted off the van.

Pittenger said witnesses reported seeing a small white car speed away from the scene. He said the trajectory of the bullets indicate they were fired from a low position, such as from inside a vehicle.

"We believe the van was the target," he said today. He said the owner of the van is not being identified because he fears for his safety.

Pittenger said they are looking at connections between the shooting and the theft, as well as investigating other possibilities.

The church and some members seemingly have been targeted in recent years for burglaries, fires and vandalism. None of those cases, dating back to at least 1999, has been solved.

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