The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 3, 2013

Ashtabula church seeks healing after shooting

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Though many feel lost, members of Hiawatha Church of God in Christ are reminded Jesus Christ is there for them, the Rev. David Howard Jr., pastor of the church, said Tuesday.

Just days after a popular parishioner was shot and killed after Easter Sunday’s service, worshippers are invited to a healing service at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the church, 3417 Hiawatha Ave., to find comfort and answers.

“We are trying to get people back to reality; the kids are devastated,” Howard said. “We want to bring peace and healing.”

The pastor and assistant ministers will offer words of comfort to those affected by the trauma, he said.

According to police, Reshad Riddle, 28, of Ashtabula, shot his father, Richard Riddle, 53, in the head with a handgun at point-blank range outside of the church.

Richard Riddle died instantly, according to the Ashtabula County Coroner’s report.

Reshad Riddle then walked into the church, holding the gun in the air, cursing and rambling about Allah and God’s will, witnesses said.

“He went up to the pulpit,” said Riddle’s great-uncle, Adam Holman.

About 150 people were in the church or outside at the time, and frantically tried to hide, call 911 or run away, Holman said.

Many parishioners believed Riddle was going to kill everyone, witnesses said.

While at the pulpit, and holding his weapon in the air, Riddle told the crowd of church-goers that they were all hypocrites and they were all going to hell, according to a witness.

Police took only a few minutes to arrive on the scene, and with guns drawn, they took Riddle into custody without incident, Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said.

An ex-convict, Riddle is being held on a $1 million bond, charged with aggravated murder, having a weapon under a disability and carrying a concealed weapon, according to police and Municipal Court records.