ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)– An Ellicott City congregation is healing from a horrific shooting. Two religious leaders were shot inside a church office by a man they were trying to help.

Weijia Jiang has more on how the community is moving forward.

The gruesome discovery a janitor made inside St. Peter’s Church has rattled the Episcopal community.

“People seem to be turning away from God toward worldly things,” neighbor Nancy Shih said.

Police say 56-year-old Douglas Franklin Jones– a homeless man– shot Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, 62, and administrator Brenda Brewington, 59.

The tragedy has prompted other congregations to reach out.

“I’ve just been amazed to be reminded how interconnected we all are as we all been just starting to let what’s happened sink in,” Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith of St. John’s Episcopal Church said.

Even more troubling, police say the gunman had been going to the St. Peter’s food pantry for help.

SWAT teams found him dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in nearby woods where he lived.

“We are working on identifying to who that gun is registered,” Sherry Llewellyn, spokesperson of the Howard County Police Department, said.

In light of what happened inside their building, leaders at St. Peter’s had planned on holding Sunday services at St. John’s a mile away. But they changed their minds, and will resume activities at their church as normal.

“I do think it’s very courageous to begin healing that way. People here in St. John’s and all around the community will be praying with them and for them,” Ovenstone Smith said.

Loved ones mourned at Brewington’s home with her family.

Colleagues of Rev. Kohn’s– a co-rector at the church– focus on the good.

“Many of us remember her very fondly,” Rev. Scott Slater of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said.

A special memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday. It is only open to members of St. Peter’s Church.

Funeral arrangements are not yet available.

Memorial donations may be made to:
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
3695 Rogers Avenue
Ellicott City, Md. 21043

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