Friday May 4, 2012

A priest who had ministered at a Pittsfield church was critically wounded and an administrative assistant was fatally shot in a of an Episcopal church office in Ellicot City, Md., police there said Friday.

The Rev. Mary Marguerite Kohn, 62, who served as the interim rector at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield in the mid-2000s, remained in critical condition Friday morning at Shock Trauma in Baltimore, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

Kohn has been co-rector of St. Peter's since August 2009. Before that she was an associate rector of the parish, starting in Oct. 23, Tillman said.

St. Stephen's rector, the Rev. Hannah Anderson, issued a statement to parishioners today.

"I ask your prayers for those who have lost their lives and for their families," Anderson wrote. "Most especially, I bid your prayers for Mary Marguerite who served St. Stephen's as interim priest associate for two years in between the Rev. Michael Povey and the Rev. Jim Dannals."

Howard County (Md.) police said they were working to confirm the identity of the suspect, whose body was found Thursday night in the woods near St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, about 14 miles west of Baltimore. Police found a gun nearby.

"The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is saddened beyond words by the shootings," spokeswoman Sharon Tillman said in a written statement. She said the Maryland bishop, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, offered prayers for the victims Thursday night at a chapel in Baltimore, where the diocese is based.

Police identified the slain woman as Brenda Brewington, 59, of Ellicott City. She was pronounced dead Thursday evening at the church.

Police said a church custodian called 911 at about 5:20 p.m., reporting that he found the two women inside a church office.

The shootings occurred on the eve of the diocese's annual conference in Hunt Valley. The two-day meeting is scheduled to run through Saturday.