Detroiter is shot, killed during church service

2 others wounded; suspect is later found dead

A woman was shot and killed in the balcony of Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit during a worship service Sunday, destroying the feeling of sanctuary as churchgoers panicked and crawled under pews in fear.

Kevin L. Collins, 22, of Detroit walked into the 11 a.m. service at Van Dyke and Willard, looking for his girlfriend, police said. Instead, he saw her mother, Rosa Williams, 38. He sat beside her, witnesses said, and demanded to know her daughter’s whereabouts. Williams refused to tell him, and then left. He returned to the balcony with a shotgun and shot Williams, police said.

He also wounded a girl in church and shot a man near the church, police said.

Church members said they continued to pray and sing.

About 4:30 p.m., Collins was found with a hole in his chest behind an apartment building on St. Paul at Van Dyke, Detroit Police spokesman James Tate said. Police said Collins shot himself with the shotgun he used to kill Williams.

After fleeing the church, police said, Collins approached a car parked on Norvell, a few blocks south of Zion Hope. Victoria Davis, who lives on the street, was in the driver’s seat. Collins jumped in the passenger side. She struggled with him, police said. Her husband, Alarie Davis, 54, saw the struggle in the car, ran over and snatched Collins out of the passenger seat. They fought over a gun, and Alarie Davis was shot in the chest, police said.

Police said Davis was being treated at Detroit Receiving Hospital on Sunday evening. His condition was not known.

The hand of 9-year-old goddaughter, Toi Edwards, was injured by buckshot from the shotgun blast, police said. She was treated at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

The news that Collins had been spotted at the apartment building on St. Paul sent police speeding from Zion Hope to the scene. Police said Collins shot himself after a cop spotted him and gave chase.

Officers said they heard a shotgun blast behind the house moments before they found him dead.

As officers and EMS workers pulled Collins’ bloody body into an ambulance, bystanders screamed in horror.

“Will he make it?” one woman screamed.

Prior to Collins’ suicide, members of the church trickled from the inside throughout the afternoon. Most who witnessed the shooting were interviewed by police. Some cried as they comforted one another. A group gathered on the corner and sang “Victory is Mine.”

“People shouldn’t be afraid to come back out to church,” said Anthony Bennett, 24, of Detroit, a longtime member of Zion Hope.

“The sanctity of our sanctuary has been disturbed,” said the Rev. Curtis R. Grant, Zion Hope pastor. “We’re just trying to get the families and the children through this tragedy.”

Grant, who hugged reporters outside the church, said, “This is not only happening at Zion Hope. This is happening all over the city. … It shouldn’t have to happen at a particular church for us to be alarmed.”

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Detroit Free Press, USA
Feb. 26, 2006
Naomi R. Patton and Ben Schmitt

Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday February 26, 2006.
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