A church maintenance worker in Osceola, Florida, is reportedly in stable condition after he opened fire in the church, forcing the pastor to shoot him in self-defense.
According to My Fox Orlando, Pastor Terry Howell met with janitor Benjamin Parangan at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, supposedly with the intention of terminating his employment at the Living Water Fellowship Church. During their meeting, Parangan allegedly pulled out a gun and began firing shots at Howell.
Howell then drew his own gun and fire back at Parangan, striking him. The pastor was uninjured. Both men, according to reports, had concealed weapons permits.
Parangan was taken to the Osceola Regional Medical Center in critical condition, and was later reported to be in stable condition. Several witnesses were in the church at the time of the shooting, as was a group of children at a childcare facility adjacent to the church.
“Approximately 16 children were here at the time,” Osceola County Sheriff’s Office representative Twis Lizasuain said. “They were not affected by the incident that occurred. As a precaution, we did notify the parents, and all the children have been picked up at this time."
According to WFTV, authorities obtained a warrant to search Parangan’s home following the shooting.
On Tuesday afternoon, the church released a statement saying they were fully cooperating with authorities in their investigation.
“We are in full support of the on-going Osceola County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the traumatic incident that occurred at our Church this morning. We will continue to cooperate with the investigators in every way that we can,” the statement read. “Until the investigation is complete, we will not be making any public statements. Thank you for understanding. The members of our Church will continue to pray for all those involved in this morning’s incident. We would ask all who read this release to do the same."