Man charged with murder for Fallon church shooting

The scene of a shooting at a Mormon church in Fallon. Photo by Gurajpal Sangha/KOLO.
The scene of a shooting at a Mormon church in Fallon. Photo by Gurajpal Sangha/KOLO.(KOLO)
Published: Jul. 22, 2018 at 3:12 PM PDT
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A man accused of a shooting at a Fallon Mormon church is being held in lieu of $1,050,000 bond and is charged with open murder, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with substantial bodily harm.

Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman says 48-year-old John Kelley O’Connor walked into the church on West Williams Street just before 1 p.m. July 22, 2018 and fired shots, then left the church and walked home. O'Connor surrendered after police called the home and asked him to surrender.

Gehman says evidence pertaining to the shooting was found in the home, including a handgun matching the description given by witnesses to the shooting.

The chief says O'Connor was known to police, having had two domestic violence charges against him in the '90s, though both were dropped.

The man who died in the church shooting has been identified as 61-year-old Charles "Bert" Miller. He was a 35-year veteran of the Fallon Volunteer Fire Department. One other victim sustained a leg injury; that person's name has not been released.

“It’s really too early to understand the motive,” Gehman said Sunday. He says it does not appear to be an attack on the church, which had as many as 50 people at the time, but on one person.

“Our hearts go out to family members of those who have lost someone and those who were in the church today where the tragedy occurred,” Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford said.

Eric Hawkins, director of media relations for the LDS church in Salt Lake City, issued this statement:

"We express our love to those in this congregation and our prayers for the victims and their families. Local leaders are ministering to them at this time."