May 21, 2006

Five dead after Louisiana church shootings

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Reuters) - A man shot and killed
four people in a Louisiana church on Sunday morning before
kidnapping his three children and estranged wife and shooting
her to death, police said.

The suspect, identified as Anthony Bell, 25, was arrested
after police got a report of a shooting at an apartment complex
near the church about 90 minutes after the killings in Baton
Rouge, the city's police chief, Jeff LeDuff said.

"We were able to take him into custody without incident.
But we also have found that his estranged wife was found dead
in the car," LeDuff told Fox News.

"It's a very sad day for Baton Rouge. This is very unusual
for our city," LeDuff said. "We are in total disbelief."

The suspect shot five people at the Ministry of Jesus
Christ Church in an industrial area of the Louisiana state
capital before kidnapping his family, police said. Three were
pronounced dead at the scene, and a fourth died in a hospital.

Another shooting victim was taken to a hospital and was
expected to recover, LeDuff said.

Bell was charged with five counts of first-degree murder,
one count of attempted murder and one count of kidnapping.

The suspect dropped off two of his children at a family
member's residence after the shootings, then drove off with his
wife and a newborn child, according to LeDuff.

LeDuff added the suspect was holding his infant child when
police arrived at the apartment complex.

"Officers were able to get close enough to ascertain that
he was not armed at that point, and they were able to take the
child into safety," he said.