William Schooler, 71, was the pastor of a Dayton, Ohio church who was shot and killed during a service on Sunday morning, WHIOTV reported. Church attendees fled the service when a man stood up from the pews and began firing. Some reports say the shooter may have been the pastor’s brother, Daniel Schooler, who is in custody. Schooler was a decorated war veteran who had worked in the public school district for more than 30 years. The shooting occurred at St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church with about 20 people in attendance.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Pastor Schooler Led a Small Church, St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church, in Dayton, Ohio
The pastor led a small congregation at St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. He had also been president of the Baptist Ministers Union in Dayton, according to the City of Dayton.
St. Peter’s is located off the 3300 block of Nancy Avenue in Dayton. After the shooting, a man was seen being walked out of the church in handcuffs and put in the back of a police cruiser, WHIO reported.
Some news reports indicate a second person may have been shot, ABC22 reported, but that has not been confirmed.
2. Witnesses Said His Brother Stood Up During the Service and Shot Him, But Some Reports Are Conflicting
Early reports were conflicting. Some said the shooting occurred in the pastor’s office. But witnesses said that the shooter, who may have been the pastor’s brother, stood up while the pastor was walking back to the pulpit and followed him. While the choir was singing, he started shooting, Breaking 911 reported. It’s not yet confirmed if the shooter was the pastor’s brother.
There were conflicting reports early on, with some people saying the pastor was shot in his office, WHIO reported.
There were conflicting reports early on, with some people saying the pastor was shot in his office, WHIO reported. One witness, according to Fox45, said that the pastor had walked back to his office after morning prayer, while the choir was singing, and the gunman walked into the study. They heard gunshots and the usher told everybody to run out.
The motive for the shooting isn’t yet known. The only hint is that the gunman may have been the pastor’s brother.
3. Schooler was a Decorated Vietnam Veteran And a Local Activist
Schooler was a decorated Vietnam veteran, Dayton Daily News reported. He had received the Bronze Star for his service to the country.
He was a 1963 graduate of Dunbar High School and he graduated from Central State University in 1972, Ohio State University in 1976, and Grace College in Columbia, S.C., in 2003.
A news report in 2002 from the Cincinnati Enquirer referred to Schooler as a long-time neighborhood activist in Dayton’s racially diverse northwest side. When the Dayton city manager, Valerie Lemmi, was up for the same job in Cincinnati, Schooler referred to her as having “a beautiful smile, but she is tough as nails.” At the time, Schooler headed Dayton’s Northwest Priority Board, a neighborhood community council. In 2014, he was a members of the Men of Color Committee, which sought to bring President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program to Dayton. He advocated finding volunteers to spend time in Dayton Public Schools, helping teachers and introducing positive role models to students, according to the City of Dayton.
4. The Pastor Had Worked for 30 Years in Public Education
In addition to serving as a local pastor, Schooler was also retired from the field of education, where he had worked for more than 30 years. Schooler taught in the Dayton Public district from 1972 to 1978. He was principal in the Jefferson Twp. district from 1978 until 1997, when he retired, Dayton Daily News reported.
In 2011, Schooler was appointed to the Dayton Board of Education. Nancy Nerny, Board President, said of Schooler: “His commitment was just from the heart, we could tell that.” Schooler hoped that he could help the district improve test scores and community outreach. He said of his appointment: “Hopefully, we can all work together and move the community forward as it relates to the education of our children.”
Later that year, a fellow school board member, Joe Lacey, filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against Schooler, regarding comments Schooler made about a tax abatement deal. He claimed Schooler made false statements to promote himself while running for the school board position. Lacey was supporting Schooler’s competition in the campaign.
5. About 20 People Were in Attendance When the Shooting Happened
There were about 20 people in attendance when the shooting happened, WDTN reported. Chaos immediately ensued as everyone took off running, trying to escape. The police were interviewing about 10 people after the shooting. Congregation members said that Schooler was active and well known in the community, WDTN reported.
Attendees of the church loved Schooler. On Facebook, one church member asked for prayers for Schooler’s family, including his wife who was still in shock:
Other friends have expressed outrage and dismay over his death. He was greatly loved and appreciated by many.
Daniel Schooler‘s motives aren’t known, but he had a long history and a violent past. Two other men feared for their lives after being attacked by Daniel, but charges were dropped when they didn’t appear in court.