Puerto Rican pastor and deacon shot, but survive attack

General June 30, 2008


Pastor Pedro Negron of Habacuc 3:17 Asamblea de Dios (Assemblies of God), and a deacon, Eric Tirado Romano, were both shot when a man pulled out a pistol and began shooting in the church this past Sunday, June 23. The church, a member of the U.S. AG's Puerto Rico District, is located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Pastor Negron was struck in the arm with a single bullet while Romano took two bullets to the back. Romano had to go through surgery for his wounds, but both men are now listed in stable condition.

The alleged shooter, Hiram Velez Villanueva, was a first-time visitor brought by relatives who were visiting Puerto Rico from the United States. During the service, he had walked out and then returned, opening fire with a pistol on the pastor and about 75 people in the congregation. Family and church members were able to fairly quickly subdue Villanueva, holding him until police arrived.

Other church members provided first aid to the pastor and deacon until a medical team came.

According to one church official, for the most part, the congregation remained calm during the shooting, and soon afterward began praying. Two weeks earlier, the official reports, a speaker had called the congregation to prayer and fasting as he felt times of tension and crisis were coming.

Villanueva is currently in jail with a $300,000 bond. He is facing multiple charges.

For more information on the Puerto Rico District Council, see http://ag.org and click on "District Offices" under the "AG Directories" heading.

--Efraim Espinoza and Dan Van Veen


Bishop Gerald A. Seale, DD,
General Secretary and CEO,
Evangelical Association of the Caribbean,
41 Excel Road, Elizabeth Park, Christ Church BB15092, Barbados,
Tel: 1-246-427-9746
Alternate Email: gerry@caribbeanevangelical.org
Web Site: www.caribbeanevangelical.org
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