A shooting just above a crowded Kalihi church courtyard injured a man who had just been baptized this afternoon, witnesses said.
Taleni Asuega said he had just arrived at the church when he heard a loud bang and saw that his uncle had been shot near a second-floor classroom at the Samoa Tokelau Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Banyan Street in Kalihi.
The shooting happened just after his uncle, Tali Talitonu, had been baptized in a mass celebration. Anywhere from 60 to 100 people, including many children, were spilling out into the courtyard when the shot was fired, Asuega said.
Paramedics treated a 60-year-old man for a gunshot wound to the back and took him to the hospital in stable condition, Emergency Medical Services reported.
A church elder, Tony Williams, 57, is being called a hero for his quick action in grabbing the shooter’s gun hand, pointing the weapon away from the victim and the crowd, and disarming her.
“As soon as I heard the bang, I turned around and he already had her,” said Sam Tauolo, a church member who was also baptized today. “The church (service) had just ended, so everybody was coming out. Anybody could have been hit.”
Asuega and Tauolo said the woman who fired the shot was also a member of the congregation. They said they didn’t know what prompted the violence.
Police took her away and kept Banyan Street closed for several hours, only letting residents and church members in, while detectives investigated the scene.