US Pastor’s mother killed in church shooting

Josephine Echols

Josephine EcholsA woman identified as Josephine Echols was shot and killed at an Aurora Church Sunday afternoon, according to reports reaching here.

Echols was identified as the mother of Pastor De Lono Straham, who pastored the church. The shooting occurred in the 10600 block of East Bethany Drive, police said.

The shooting took place at the Destiny Christian Center located in a business park near Parker Road and Havana Street, wire reports quoting a local TV agency said.

The shooting happened right at the end of service Sunday, sometime after 2 pm, according to Yolanda Marant, the media contact for the church.

“Our drummer was waving for a couple of people in our service to come out,” Marant said about the end of the service.

She says the drummer waved for the off-duty officer and the pastor’s mother to come outside.

Marant said she didn’t know why the church’s drummer was asking people to come out. An off-duty police officer and the pastor’s mother were outside and then the congregation heard, ‘get down.’

Three shots were reportedly fired back to back. Immediately people ducked for cover. The congregation hid in different rooms.

“Only God protected us,” Marant was quoted as saying.

The shooting suspect and the pastor’s mother were shot and taken to a local hospital where Echols was died.

“Both the people were rushed to the hospital. When they were transported, they were in serious condition,” Officer Frank Faina, spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department, said.

Pastor De Lono Straham told a TV channel that his mother passed away on Sunday evening.

The suspect also died at the hospital, police added.

The suspect was shot by an off-duty Denver police officer. The officer is a member of the church and is the pastor’s cousin, according to church sources.

The church released the following statement Sunday evening:

“Please keep Pastor Delono Straham, the Straham family and The Destiny Center in your prayers.” With agency inputs

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