Man Fatally Shot Outside Church After Taking Family To Bible Study [UPDATE]
A shooting outside of a church in South L.A. left one man dead and another injured on Wednesday evening.
Homicide detectives are searching for the suspect who shot the two men around 6:55 p.m. near the 88th Street Temple Church of God In Christ on the 8800 block of South Vermont Ave., according to CBS Los Angeles.
One of the victims, 36-year-old John Matthews, stopped to talk to a 35-year-old church security guard (whose name has not been identified yet) near the entrance of the parking lot after he had walked his daughter and wife to church for a service, according to CBS Los Angeles and NBC Los Angeles. (KTTV reported that bible study is held at the church from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays).
As both men were talking, the suspect walked up to them and shot them. They were both rushed to the hospital, where Matthews died and the security guard was in critical condition.
It is unclear if the shooting was gang-related. The suspect is described as a black male who is 5-feet-8-inches tall. Anyone with information about the suspect should contact LASD’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Pastor Anthony Williams of the 88th Street Temple Church told the L.A. Times that reports of Matthews walking his family to church are "inaccurate." Williams said the victim "was not dropping off his family here, he was not even a member here, we've never seen him before," He added, "He was just walking by the outside of the gate and began to speak to the security guard."
This refutes the L.A. County Sheriff's earlier statement that the victim was "escorting his wife to church."
Garry King, a friend of Matthews who had run into him at a liquor store before the shooting, told the L.A. Times that the victim did have a stepdaughter and teenage son and that he wanted to check up on them before his plans to hang out with King later. "He always had something positive to say to somebody," King said.