Multiple people were reportedly shot during a wedding at a church in New Hampshire on Saturday morning. No one was killed at the New England Pentecostal Ministries in the town of Pelham and local media reported that the church shooting suspect had been taken into custody. The Washington Post reported that at least one injured person was being transferred to a hospital in nearby Boston. At least two people were shot and at least two people were injured, according to WMUR.
“Guests of the wedding tackled and subdued the shooter,” WMUR reported.
“This does not seem to be a random event at this point,” Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said.
However, one fact that seemed to be buried if mentioned at all among the reports was how the shooting took place at a church were predominately Black people worshipped. Many people took to Twitter to point out that the New England Pentecostal Ministries is a network of Black churches and wondered whether it was racially motivated. In an age where racially motivated shootings seemingly happen a dime a dozen, that possibility prompted a number of tweets to question hours ago why it wasn’t bigger news.
Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon told members of the media during a press conference that the church was still an active crime scene. Neither he nor local police would identify the suspect, but the fact that he or she was able to be arrested without police reporting that any shots were fired indicates that the shooter was probably a white person.
A closer look at the website for the New England Pentecostal Ministries shos that it prominently features Black people along with what appears to be photos if a Black congregation along with photos of Black pastors. The founders of the New England Pentecostal Ministries appear to be Black, as well. According to the most recent Census data, Pelham, a town of just more than 14,000 residents, has a Black population that is fewer than 1 percent.
Throughout American history, Black churches have been popular targets for acts of racist hate. The shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries came about six months after a suspected white supremacist was accused of burning down three historically Black churches in Louisiana.
It was also at another historic Black church where avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof carried out a mass execution of nine parishioners at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.