[Vision2020] One more article from Daily News

nickgier at adelphia.net nickgier at adelphia.net
Sun May 20 23:24:25 PDT 2007

MOSCOW SHOOTINGS: Church pastor speaks about victim: "We're thankful for the time we’ve spent with him."

By Hillary Hamm, Daily News staff writer
May 20, 2007

Moscow First Presbyterian Church Pastor Norman Fowler was recently approached by church sexton Paul Bauer.

Bauer, who had worked as a caretaker in the church for several years, had a question about a particular scripture he didn’t quite understand.

“I wasn’t fully able to explain it to him, but I think he has someone who can explain it to him now,” Fowler said.

Bauer was found dead in the church’s office Sunday morning after an unidentified shooter took refuge in the church during a stand-off with police outside the Latah County Courthouse.

Also killed was Moscow police officer Lee Newbill. Brannon Jordan, a deputy with the Latah County Sheriff’s Office, and an unidentified civilian were wounded. The suspected shooter was found dead in the church of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The First Presbyterian congregation met Sunday at the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music for a sermon and a chance to console one another following the bloodshed. A number of representatives from other area churches joined the service to express their condolences and support.

“The events of last night are tragic and will take us time to get through. But we are a family and we can love each other and remind each other of the faith we have,” Fowler said during the service. “We don’t always know what to do with our grief, so we come to You. Oh Gracious Lord ... Hold our hand, see us through.”

Fowler reminded his congregation that Bauer, who lived in an apartment at the church, was not the only person who died. Prayers must go out to the law enforcement officers, their families and those who knew the shooter, he said.

“He has become an incredible part of our church,” Fowler said of Bauer. “We’re thankful for the time we’ve spent with him. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

“Whatever the reason, I pray for (the shooter’s) family and those affected by (the shooter’s) choices,” Fowler continued. “It’s interesting, Lord, how one person affects so many. Please, Lord, help us be the ones who affect others not with violence, but with grace.”

University of Idaho Dean of Students and First Presbyterian member Bruce Pitman said he expects it will take time for the community to heal.

“We are going to be called not only to heal, but be in the business of forgiving,” he said. “It’s a very traumatic situation. We pride ourselves on having a place that is safe and has a high quality of life. It will take some time to reclaim that.”

Dan Crimmins recalled his last interaction with Bauer on Saturday, when the usually quiet man began recalling his life. Bauer talked about time living in upstate New York, his children and his experiences in the Navy.

“I felt that God was working,” Crimmins said. “The lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.”

Crimmins said he is trying to process the situation.

“I’m still on active duty,” he said of his desire to help the congregation and the community heal. “I need to do something to smooth the way for others who are going to be struggling for weeks and months. It’s going to take some time.”

Crimmins said he was especially concerned with the community’s youth, who may be neglected or hide their grief.

“I want to make contact with the kids,” he said.

Katie Cole, an 18-year-old Moscow High School senior and a member of the First Presbyterian congregation, said she’s still in shock, knowing such gruesome events took place so close to her church and school.

“I don’t think it’s hit me,” she said. “I mean, it’s Moscow. It’s safe. It’s not supposed to happen here. That’s scary. It’s almost too close. Is that really possible? Anyone could have been there.”

Fowler said he has no immediate plans to go back into the church and was unable to comment on when activities at the church would resume.

Hillary Hamm can be reached at (509) 334-6397, ext. 307, or by e-mail at hhamm at dnews.com.

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