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Pennsylvania church shooting: Man shoots, kills ex-wife during church service, police say

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CBS/iStockphoto
(CBS/AP) COUDERSPORT, Pa. - An elementary school music teacher walked into a church in the middle of Sunday services and fatally shot his ex-wife as she sat in a pew, police said.

Gregory Eldred, 52, is charged with first-degree murder, simple assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment after allegedly shooting Darlene Sitler, 53, twice.

The shooting took place at the First United Presbyterian Church, where Sitler served as organist and choir director.

Witnesses told police they saw Eldred pacing outside the 180-year-old church before the service and that other members of the congregation grabbed Eldred after the shooting took place around 11:30 a.m., and held him until police arrived. No one else was injured in the incident.

Trooper Michael Knight told the Bradford Era newspaper that Eldred, who has taught at the borough's elementary school since 1986, walked down the church's middle aisle and fired two shots at Sitler.

Potter County Commissioner Susan Kefover told the newspaper the shooting was "devastatingly tragic for the community."

"It's hard to even comprehend it. You just feel this tremendous grief and you're trying to process what happened, Kefover said.

In addition to Sitler's church duties, she also taught music at the Northern Potter Children's School for the past 30 years. The school borders the district where her ex-husband taught.

  • Crimesider Staff

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