A Salmon Arm man, Gordon Parmenter is dead following the Sunday, April 14 shooting at the Church of Christ.
Parmenter was identified as the victim of the shooting by his family. His son David believes the shooting was a targeted attack. Another member of the church’s congregation was also shot in the leg and taken away from the scene in an air ambulance.
“I think dad was the intended target, the other man was struck in the leg,” David said.
RCMP E Division Media Relations Officer Cpl. Chris Manseau reports that shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 14 police responded to a possible shooting at the church located on 5th Ave. SW. Manseau said the church was hosting an event when a man entered the building and shot two of the parishioners.
Investigating officers found two individuals seriously wounded and requiring urgent medical assistance.
“EHS (Emergency Health Services) attended and one individual was declared deceased at the scene while another was transported to hospital in stable condition…,” said Manseau, adding the BC Coroners Service and next of kin have been notified.
“A 25-year-old man was taken into custody after being wrestled to the ground by a number of parishioners and a rifle has been seized. The male remains in police custody with charges pending.”
According to David, the man the police have in custody is well known to the Parmenter family.
“Why he was focused on dad, I have no clue,” he said. “He was someone who we wouldn’t have expected to do something like this given all of the previous interactions with him.”
David said he was worshipping at another church across town when he received a text message from his mother saying that his father had been shot. He quickly drove to the Church of Christ and had only been on the scene for a few minutes when the gunman returned and began shooting again, which is when the man who was shot in the leg was hit. David said he was one of a group who wrestled the shooter to the ground and took his weapon away from him.
David doesn’t believe the attack was religiously motivated. He said the church service was simply somewhere that the shooter knew his father would be. His father is an elder of the church.
“We’re just very sad about all of this. It’s just pretty senseless. We’re just very sad, not so much angry because I know that the young guy, he’s got some real struggles. We’re just really sad.”
The family was also the victim of a fire which ripped through Gordon’s house on March 14. At the time, police said the fire was suspicious and likely the result of arson. The tires of both vehicles at the burned residence were slashed before or during the blaze.
Salmon Arm RCMP, with the assistance of the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, are investigating the shooting. Victim Services support was also brought in to assist those impacted by the incident.
“While the investigation is in the preliminary stages, there is no information to suggest there are any ongoing threats to public safety,” said Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West. “Police have determined that at least one of the victims was known to the suspect, and it is not believed at this time the event was religiously motivated.”