A Lakeland, Florida, man faces charges of murder and three counts of attempted murder following the shooting death of his wife and the shootings of two ministers in their church Sunday morning.
Authorities report Jeremiah Fogle, 57, shot his 56-year-old wife, Theresa, in their home around 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Later, he bolted through the doors of Greater Faith Christian Center Church and shot pastor William Boss and associate pastor Carl Stewart. Both survived but were critically injured.
The St. Petersburg Times reported today that Fogle pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his first wife in 1986, in Highlands County, in Central Florida. He served 10 years’ probation for that crime, through a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Sunday’s shooting at the church occurred as members were gathered for prayer between services. Fogle, carrying a .32-caliber revolver, charged down the center aisle and shot Boss in the back of the head. Fogle then shot Stewart behind the left ear, in the left shoulder and in the middle of the back.
Quick action by church members prevented further violence.
After struggling for several minutes, Derrick Foster and Corey Reed managed to subdue Fogle until law enforcement arrived on the scene.
“The first thing in my mind was, ‘I have to take his gun away.’ He had a great grip on the gun,” said Foster, a teacher in the church ministry. “My plan was, as soon as he hit the floor, it would cause him to drop it. But he didn’t drop it.”
Family members of the Fogles are at odds as to why this violent shooting spree occurred. “He always has a smile on his face; he’s always glad to see everyone, said Maria Beauford, Theresa Fogle’s sister.
Jeremiah Fogle’s older brother, Collis Fogle Jr., said the couple seemed to have gotten along well. “It’s so sad, he said. “I’ve been trying to call to figure out what went wrong.”
The Fogles married in April of 2002. They were members of Greater Faith Christian. Fogle was a deacon at the church until about three years ago. Following a disagreement, the Fogles left Greater Faith Christian and formed their own ministry, Emmanuel’s Circle of Prayer Ministry.