A spokesman for the Living Church of God (LCG), headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., expressed the church's shock and dismay over the shooting deaths of eight of its members March 12 during a Sabbath service in Wisconsin.
A 44-year-old member of the Brookfield, Wis., congregation of the LCG, Terry Ratzmann of New Berlin, Wis., walked into services in a Sheraton hotel during the sermonette and began shooting people with a 9-mm handgun. Within minutes eight church members lay dead or dying, including the gunman, whose last act was to shoot himself.
Church spokesman J.D. Crockett said LCG members are praying for the families of the victims and the family of Mr. Ratzmann.
The dead are Pastor Randy Gregory, 51, and his son James, 16, of Gurnee, Wis.; Gloria Critari, 55, of Cudahy, Wis.; Harold Diekmeier, 74, of Delafield, Wis.; Gerald A. Miller, 44, of Erin, Wis.; Bart Oliver, 15, of Waukesha, Wis.; Richard Reeves, 58, of Cudahy, Wis.; and Mr. Ratzmann.
Injured were Mr. Gregory's wife, Marjean, in critical but stable condition as of this writing; Matthew P. Kaulbach, 21, of Pewaukee, Wis.; Lindsay Maughmer, 10; and Angel M. Varichak, 19, of Helenville, Wis.
Mr. Ratzmann had been a member of the LCG for several years. He had first attended with the Worldwide Church of God as a teenager. He was not married and lived in New Berlin with his mother and sister.
Friends and acquaintances of Mr. Ratzmann said they were stunned, describing him as a friendly, dedicated and generous church member and neighbor.
LCG members said Mr. Ratzmann, a computer programmer, had been upset for reasons that may have been related to the church, possibly a taped sermon by LCG founder Roderick Meredith played in services Feb. 26 or perhaps "some [other] aspect of the church," according to a statement attributed to district attorney Paul Bucher.