Morning mass at a Coptic Christian church in suburban Chicago was cancelled Thursday after police found a woman fatally shot in the church's parking lot overnight.
The 62-year-old woman was found about 1 a.m. outside St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Chicago in the wealthy suburb of Burr Ridge, the Tribune reports. The woman was shot in the head and pronounced dead at an area hospital less than an hour later.
As of late Thursday morning, police had taken the 911 caller into custody after originally considering him just a witness. NBC Chicago reports the man is believed to be the victim's 27-year-old son.
As news of the crime sent waves through Burr Ridge's Coptic Christian community, St. Mark's Pastor Fr. Samuel Thabet told CBS Chicago, “the church has nothing to do with it. Our parishioners have nothing to do with it.”
Thabet denied the victim and suspect were members of the church.
Police said the shooting was an "isolated incident" and that the community is not in danger. St. Mark's attorney and parishioner Rebecca Michaels confirmed to media the shooting was not an apparent hate crime.
“Obviously that would give comfort to a lot of people in the church, in a situation in which Coptic Christians have already been targeted all over the world, as a minority community,” Michaels said.
The shooting is currently classified as a death investigation, but if police classify it as murder, it will be the first homicide in the history of Burr Ridge.
"Any murder is a tragedy and will affect our community and the local community as a whole," said Michaels. "Burr Ridge is a quiet town and things like this don't usually happen, so it is a tragedy and it will affect us all in ways."
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