The victim of yesterday’s shooting at St. James Catholic Church in Ogden is expected to recover, while the parish community is working to emotionally heal after witnessing the violence.
Friends describe 66-year-old James Evans as a pillar of St. James the Just parish. He was kneeling in a back pew with his family on Sunday when his son-in-law allegedly shot him in the back of the head. Doctor Barbara Kerwin, who heads the intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital, says the bullet struck near his right ear, but missed his brain.
“He will need to have more surgical procedures eventually for further reconstruction and then rehabilitation to learn how to swallow and speak," Dr. Kerwin told a news conference Monday morning at McKay-Dee Hospital.
The suspect, Ricky Jennings, was captured on I-84 near Tremonton yesterday after a truck he’d allegedly stolen ran out of gas. He’s facing three charges – attempted criminal homicide, aggravated robbery and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.
Father Erik Richtsteig, the pastor of St. James parish, spoke for the family and said he’s grateful for the community response.
“Really, I think we need to focus in on is how much good we saw yesterday, not just the one act of evil but a lot of bravery, a lot of kindness, a lot of charity," Richtsteig said, speaking for Evans' family.
The regular mass at St. James was held this morning, and a special service to bless the church is planned for this Thursday at 6:00 p.m.