A man shot and killed two female victims, then killed himself, in a parking lot outside Ames’ Cornerstone Church Thursday night, according to police and officials at the church.
The suspected shooter appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Story County Sheriff Capt. Nicholas Lennie said. The ages of the female victims were not immediately known.
A statement from Mark Vance, lead pastor at Cornerstone Church, said Thursday night he was unable to give any details about what happened because of the ongoing investigation.
“We can say, however, that we are more than saddened by the events that transpired. Our hearts break for all involved, and we are praying for everyone affected, especially the family of the victims. Our Ministry staff are available to support all those impacted, and we will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as they complete their full investigation,” the statement said.
Prayer service, news conference planned Friday morning
A prayer service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Cornerstone Church of Ames, 56829 US HWY 30 in Ames. “All are welcome to attend in-person or join us online at cornerstonelife.com/live,” according to the church’s website.
Authorities will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Story County Sheriff’s Office.
More:A man shot, killed 2 church members, then himself, outside of Ames’ Cornerstone Church, sheriff says
Statement by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
Gov. Kim Reynolds said the shooting was an “act of senseless violence.”
“Tonight’s act of senseless violence took the lives of two innocent victims at their place of worship. Kevin and I grieve for the families who have suffered an unfathomable loss, the governor said on Twitter. “And while the investigation continues and we learn more, we ask that Iowans pray for the victims and their families, the members of Cornerstone Church, and the entire Ames community.”
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More about Cornerstone Church in Ames and The Salt Company
Cornerstone Church, a megachurch with dozens of staff, is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Interstate 35 in Ames. The church sits just south of Lake Wesley.
The church is also framed by CrossRoad Baptist Church and the Iowa Department of Transportation Maintenance Garage. Beyond that are sprawling fields. Across the street from the church is the 3ts All Star Sports Academy. To its west, on the other side of I-35, are DMACC Career Academy and Durham School Services, as well as a handful of businesses.
The church, according to its website, was founded in 1994 from a college ministry at ISU called The Salt Company, which is still the name of the church’s university ministry.
The Cornerstone website says it is now a “multigenerational church with a passion to reach the next generation of college students with the Gospel.”
The Salt Company’s website says that about 1,300 students gather to worship at Cornerstone every Thursday night during the school year.
More about Ames, Iowa
Ames is located in Story County, 30 miles north of Des Moines, and is the center of a metro area of 126,195. It’s the home of Iowa State University, the nation’s first land-grant institution of higher learning. It’s also home to major research facilities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as numerous ag-related industries, including Renewable Energy Group, a biodiesel company Chevron recently acquired for $3.15 billion.