Tinisha Johnson (in white) consoles Charlene Glover after the shooting Sunday. (Josh Green / Tampa Bay Online)
Pastor William Boss was kneeling, leading church members in prayer at the Greater Faith Christian Center before the Sunday morning service, when Jeremiah Fogle walked into the sanctuary with a loaded gun, witnesses said.
Fogle, a former deacon at the Lakeland church, walked up to Boss, took a closer look to make sure it was him and shot Boss once in the back of the head, according to witnesses. Then Fogle turned and shot the Rev. Carl Stewart, the church's associate pastor, three times before two parishioners tackled him, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
According to police, before he arrived at the church about 10 a.m., Fogle, 57, shot and killed his wife, Theresa Fogle, at their home about a block away, where the two had been leading worship services since breaking away from the Greater Faith Christian Center. Deputies found her dead on the living room floor.
The Sunday morning shootings upended what was supposed to be a day of prayer, leaving fear, confusion and lots of unanswered questions. "We're trying to find out exactly what forced him to go into this killing rage on a Sunday morning," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "It's sad, because of all the places you should be safe, you should be safe in your house of worship. And you should be safe in your house of worship on a Sunday morning."
Boss and Stewart are in critical but stable condition at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
Fogle was arrested on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied dwelling, the sheriff's office said.
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In April 2002, the former deacon married his wife, who turned 56 this month, at the Greater Faith Christian Center, 2035 West Parker St., a Pentecostal church in a residential, predominantly black and Hispanic part of northwest Lakeland.
Jeremiah and Theresa Fogle broke away from the church after a rift several years ago and started services at their house, family members said.
The two ran a company called Fogle's Transport Service out of their house at 740 Savannah Ave. No one answered a call to the business Sunday, and state records show the company hasn't been incorporated since 2002.
Theresa Fogle, who didn't have children, was a homemaker and took care of her husband, who had undergone several surgeries to correct back and shoulder problems, said Laura Gardin, the victim's sister.
"Every time you seen her, she had a smile," Gardin said. "You would never know that anything was wrong ... If you called to say you need her, she was there."
In 1986, Fogle was arrested for first-degree homicide in Highlands County, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Records. He does not appear to have been convicted, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
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SOURCE: Tampa Bay Online
Jose Patino Girona and Josh Green