3rd person critical; Police hunt shooter, estranged husband of one victim
Here is the latest update on the NJ church shootings. A second victim has died from gunshot woulds sustained this past Sunday The shooter is still at large.
A second victim of a shooting rampage inside a Clifton, New Jersey, church has died, and the lone survivor is in “extremely critical” condition, authorities said on Monday.
Police were searching for 27-year-old Joseph M. Pallipurath of Sacramento, Calif.
Pallipurath was wanted in the killing of his estranged wife, 24-year-old Reshma James, who was gunned down inside St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton on Sunday. The church caters to immigrant families from the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Early Monday morning, a second victim of the shooting died from his wounds. Twenty-three-year-old John Dennis was shot along with James, and her cousin, Silvy Perincheril. Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano said that 47-year-old Perincheril was in “extremely critical” condition.
The prosecutor said Dennis had no known relationship to the victims and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. His address was not available.
About 200 people were attending services inside the church when the gunman opened fire before noon. Churchgoers described bedlam after the shots rang out.
“Kids were crying. People were screaming,” Suja Alummoottil told The Record of Bergen County. “It was chaotic.”
Alummoottil, 40, said Pallipurath appeared angry when he confronted James in the vestibule as the service was concluding. Alummoottil said she went to get help and, a few seconds later, heard three shots.
Hunt for gunman focusses on Georgia
The prosecutor said authorities were concentrating their search for Pallipurath in Georgia, where the suspect has relatives.
James had been staying in Hawthorne with Perincheril, and had taken out a restraining order against her estranged husband, who she wed in an arranged marriage, the prosecutor said.
“She found out he wasn’t all he was cut out to be,” Avigliano said. “He was abusive toward her, and she left him and came out here.”
Pallipurath was last seen driving a green 2004 Jeep with California license plates and a black soft top. Authorities warned people that he was believed to be armed.