Witness To Nevada Church Shooting Speaks With KSL
FALLON, Nev. – New details have been released on what happened in the moments before and after a shooting an LDS church in Nevada. KSL has also learned more about the victim, a grandfather who was about to celebrate a birthday this week.
One doctor, who was new to the congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he and other ward members jumped into action to try to save the man’s life.
“It was a normal Sunday, a normal sacrament (meeting),” said Dr. Robbie Calvert.
Calvert just moved to Fallon, Nevada, and was attending his LDS ward for only the second time on Sunday when gun shots rang out inside the chapel.
“I jumped on the ground,” he said.
Once the gunman left the building, Calvert – who is a naval flight surgeon – ran to help the victim with the more serious injuries.
“We were able to get him down on the ground with some help of the other members of the ward,” he said. “ We then removed his clothing – his shirt – to get a better view of the injuries. I asked for people to give me their shirts, clothes, things that we could use to stop the bleeding.”
Calvert also helped administer CPR until paramedics arrived, but police said 61-year-old Bert Miller died from several gunshot wounds.
“We did recover a handgun which was similar to the weapon described by witnesses,” said Chief Kevin Gammon of the Fallon City Police Department.
The church stayed on lockdown for several hours while hostage negotiators worked to get the suspect, identified as 48-year-old John O’Connor, to surrender at his home just down the street from the church.
“John O’Connor has been formally charged with murder and battery with substantial harm,” said Chief Gammon.
O’Connor was held on $1,050,000 bond.
Church members said they were shaken by what happened.
“(It’s) a feeling of being violated. That sacred space was violated,” said Calvert.
Calvert said he was still processing what happened, and considered it a blessing that his family was out of town. He worries about the other children who were in the church and witnessed the trauma.
“There has been some innocence that has been lost with the children, and I hope and pray that they can get that back,” he said.
When police first responded to the scene, the church was placed on lockdown and no one was allowed to leave the church building.
The adults were crying and upset, but they decided to go forward with the children primary lessons and singing time to distract them from what was happening.
As for the man who died, Miller was well-known in Fallon for his years of dedicated volunteer work with the local fire department.
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