Suspect in Richmond church shooting arrested

February 18, 2010 5:31:07 PM PST
Richmond police arrested a 15-year-old boy Thursday in connection with the brazen shooting inside a church this past Sunday. Police hope the arrest will lead them to other suspects.

"I'm just ready for this whole thing to be done and over with," the victims' mother Rosalind Hayes-Johnson said.

Hayes-Johnson came to the New Gethsemane Church of God In Christ following news of an arrest in the shooting of her two sons. The pastor and a handful of other parishioners also gathered to pray.

"We won't be satisfied until all of them are apprehended," the Rev. Archie LeVias said.

Richmond police say they served at least three search warrants at locations around the city early Thursday morning and just after arrested the teen just after 7 a.m.

"The 15-year-old was arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime; that means we do believe that he was involved somehow in the crime?not necessarily the actual shooter," Richmond Police Sgt. Bisa French said.

"We're all praying they get the rest of them," church member Christine Alexander said. "We know god is gonna do it; we believe that and you know he's already working it out."

Video shot by a parishioner on Sunday shows the choir singing, just before the church became a crime scene. According to witnesses, three men wearing black hoodies paced the aisles before one of them started firing. Two young men, 14 and 19-year-old brothers were hit, but not seriously injured.

"We're still looking at the motive; it may be possibly gang-related, we're not sure at this point, we're looking into that possibility," French said.

Hayes-Johnson denies that her sons are gang members.

"I don't know why this whole thing happened; I'm dumbfounded on the whole situation, to tell you the truth," she said.

The shooting has galvanized members of the religious community. On Saturday, religious leaders will gather at the New Gethsemane Church of God In Christ to plan a city-wide anti-violence rally.