Prosecutor: Shooter was stepson of murdered pastor

Dale Holloway 

PELHAM, N.H. — Dale Holloway, the man charged with opening fire during a wedding at a Pentecostal church on Saturday morning, is the stepson of Luis Garcia, a pastor at the church who was murdered earlier this month, authorities confirmed. 

That familial tie is something that prosecutors are investigating as they try to pinpoint a motive for the shooting at the Bridge Street church, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said Monday. 

"I cannot say definitely it is the motive, but it is something we are looking at," he said.

Authorities have said the shooting, which injured three people, was not a random crime.  

Held without bail, Holloway faces numerous charges including the attempted murder of church Bishop Stanley Choate, 75. His arraignment is scheduled for 1 p.m., Tuesday, in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua.

Authorities said Holloway, 37, walked into New England Pentecostal Ministries Church, 955 Bridge St., at 10:12 a.m. Saturday and started shooting with a handgun, striking Choate in the upper chest. The bishop remains in serious condition at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Agati said Monday. 

The bride, Claire McMullen, 60, was shot in the arm and released from the hospital Sunday evening. The groom, Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head with a firearm. He was treated at a local hospital and released Saturday, authorities said.

Holloway was “gang tackled” by guests and parishioners, who pinned him to the floor until police arrived several minutes later.

In a statement released Sunday, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Holloway's arrest. In addition to attempted murder, he is charged with being a convicted felon in possession or control of a firearm (after previously being convicted of a felony in Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts); second-degree assault on McMullen; and simple assault on Castiglione, “by striking him in the head with a firearm.”

Holloway was charged immediately after the shooting with first-degree assault for wounding Choate, authorities said.

Agati declined to comment on Holloway's criminal history or whether he would ask at the arraignment that Holloway continue to be held without bail.

The groom who was hurt Saturday, Castiglione, is a relative of Brandon Castiglione, 24, of Londonderry, who was charged with the murder of Garcia.

The funeral for Garcia was scheduled at noon Saturday at New England Pentecostal Ministries. The wedding, with approximately 40 people in attendance, was scheduled some two hours earlier.

Within minutes of the shooting, the church parking lot was teeming with Pelham police, New Hampshire state police and deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Once the state police crime scene unit arrived, the area was cleared and a section of Bridge Street was closed temporarily. 

Salem and Manchester police, as well as the Southern New Hampshire tactical team, also assisted on Saturday.

Pelham police Chief Joseph Roark said officers had conducted active shooter training at the church within the last year.

In the wake of the shooting, services at the church this week were canceled.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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