Pastor Killed, Others Injured After Shooting At Church In Smith County
The Smith County Sheriff's Office responded to a shooting incident Sunday morning (Jan. 3) at Starrville Methodist Church in Winona that left the church's pastor dead.
The incident happened just before 9:30 a.m.
According to Larry Christian of the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the pastor of the church, identified as 62-year-old Mark Allen McWilliams of Frankston, his wife, and another person arrived at the church Sunday morning. McWilliams found a man hiding inside the church's bathroom with a red bank bag from the church. McWilliams then pulled his weapon and ordered the man not to move.
The man, identified as 21-year-old Mytrez Deunte Woolen of Marshall, was able to wrestle the gun away from McWilliams and then used it to shoot and kill him. Woolen then shot another person, fled the church and stole 2018 GMC truck from the church's parking lot.
Smith said law enforcement and Onstar were able to track down the stolen vehicle and Woolen was eventually taken into custody in Marshall after leading officers on a chase of over 120 miles per hour on I-20.
Smith says that the shooting will be conducted as a capital murder investigation.
Woolen was treated at a Tyler hospital for a gunshot wound to his hand.
Woolen has been charged with the following:
- Aggravated Assault Use or Exhibit a Deadly Weapon, a 2nd degree felony – Bond: $750,000
- Aggravated Assault Causes Serious Bodily Injury, a 2nd degree felony – Bond $750,000
- Capital Murder, a 1st degree felony – Bond $2,000,000
Officers with the Lindale Police Department say that Woolen ended up inside Starrville Methodist Church after fleeing a traffic stop around 7:30 p.m. on January 2, leading police on a chase, and running on foot into a wooded area behind the church.
At some point overnight, Woolen was able to gain access to the church.
Officers were not able to locate him before the incident Sunday morning.
Our T.V. partner KLTV was live on the scene with Smith. You can watch the press conference below.