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article imageAshtabula shooting: Man shouts 'Will of Allah,' shoots dad dead

By JohnThomas Didymus     Apr 1, 2013 in Crime
Ashtabula - There was panic at an Easter service in Ohio when a man Reshad Riddle, 28, went to the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ, shot his father Richard dead and then walked through the church shouting "It's the will of Allah."
According to police, Reshad, 28, killed his 53-year-old father Richard Riddle with a single shot from a handgun Sunday afternoon.
The Blaze reports the shooting occurred after Easter church service around 1:15 p.m.
According to The Blaze, The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland reports church members were leaving after the Easter service when they heard a gunshot.
WKYC-TV reports the gunman waited outside of the church after he arrived. When his family came out, he approached his father and shot him once after saying a few words.
The father died at the scene.
According to AP, Reshad yelled after he had shot his father, "The will of Allah — this is the will of God."
Reshad remained at the scene after the shooting until the police arrived. He put his gun down when officers ordered him to and was taken into custody.
Associate Pastor Sean Adams told The (Ashtabula) Star Beacon newspaper that church members, fearing a mass shooting, began screaming in fright, crouching and taking cover while many dialed 911 on their cellphones.
Adams said: "It was terrifying. The children were screaming and people were dialing 911. We were afraid to breathe."
According to Adams, the gunman entered and walked through the church still holding the gun, yelling that the killing was the "will of Allah," and causing panic. Church members scrambled in fright for safety, running for the doors and climbing out through the windows.
Some of the worshipers hid in a bathroom until police arrived. A female caller told a dispatcher that the gunman was wearing black and red. She pleaded with the police to come immediately, saying: "We can hear him. He's got a gun, and he's in there trying to preach."
Police Officers reportedly arrived at the scene within four minutes of the call.
Rev. David Howard Jr. said: "People pushed me into a back office and said, `Somebody’s here with a gun.' The guy was outside hollering and acting crazy."
According to AP, Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell, said the gunman offered no motive for his action. He said: "Witnesses at the scene said the shooter entered church and made some references to Allah, but we are not sure if that was a motive or if there was a family problem. There is no indication that the father and son had a bad relationship. Everyone thinks this was very surprising."
Reverend Steve Sargent, associate pastor at the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in Ashtablula, said: "Tragic as it is, it could have been so much worse. He seemed to be like he was deranged. I don't know if he was on something. My suspicion is that he may have been on something, some mind-altering chemical that caused him to act out like he did."
Michael Wofford, 59, a church member who witnessed the shooting said everyone feared a mass shooting after the gunman had shot his father. He said: "Is he going to just walk out of the church or is he going to start shooting people at random? Sooner or later he's going to run out of words. It could have been much worse."
AP reports the suspect appeared in Ashtabula Municipal Court on Monday in shackles. He spokes distractedly about Allah and demanded to be treated fairly.
The sister of the victim and the gunman's aunt, Ann Riddle, said the family could not determine the motive behind the shooting.
Ann said her brother was a loving and caring family member. She said: "He was a devoted family member, he was always there for the family. He cared a lot about people."
AP reports that court records show Reshad has a long criminal record.
In 2006, he was charged with two counts of felonious assault, kidnapping, abduction and tampering with evidence. In 2007, he was charged with felonious assault. He was charged with possession of drugs, tampering with evidence and possession of cocaine in 2009.
Police report indicates that in one of the felonious assault charges he attempted to cut his girlfriend's throat. According to the police, he attempted to cut the young woman's neck with a knife but she managed to escape only with bruises to her side and chest.
Church parishioners recall that Reshad had attended the church as a child, but stopped attending regularly as an adult.
Adams said: "No one would have thought twice about him being here with his family on Easter. His family (has) been members here for years and years."
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