Police are on a manhunt after a northern Idaho pastor who prayed with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Saturday was gunned down after church service the next morning.
Altar Church pastor Tim Remington is expected to survive after he was shot as many as six times outside of the Coeur d’Alene church shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, roughly 24 hours after he gave the invocation at a Cruz rally and prayed with the presidential hopeful, The Spokesman-Review reports.
Surveillance video from the church allegedly shows former U.S. Marine and University of Idaho biochemistry student Andrew Odom, 30, mulling around during services before lying in wait for the pastor in the parking lot afterwards, police said.
When Remington opened his car door to leave, the shooter approached, took a military posture, and fired six rounds into the pastor’s back, Alter Church outreach pastor John Padula said.
“It didn’t look like the first time he had shot,” he said. “He stood pretty professional as he was shooting.”
Padula told KXLY Remington is now recovering from a shattered pelvis, a skull fracture, a broken arm and punctured lung.
“He’s absolutely fine,” Padula told The Spokesman-Review.
The congregation is heralding the 55-year-old pastor’s brush with death as a miracle from God.
“One of the bullets tried to enter the brain but was stopped at the skull,” Roger Crigger posted online, according to the news site. “He is and will continue to be alive and serving God!”
Police are unsure whether the shooting is connected to Remington’s support for Cruz, but church goers and community members are praying for the pastor regardless.
More than 200 people poured into the Kootanei Health Center while Remington was in surgery, the local assembly held an evening prayer for his recovery, KXLY reports.
“It’s absolutely amazing seeing the community coming together,” Padula told the news site. “A lot of people just care about Pastor Tim as a person and what he’s doing in the community.”
“He’s introducing the Bible and Jesus Christ to so many lost souls around here that it’s just, I can’t believe that someone would even think of doing something like this to him,” Kevin Baurele said.
Remington runs Good Samaritan Rehabilitation to treat locals with drug and alcohol addictions through a faith-based program using Christian mentors. Both Padula and his daughter, Amanda, went through the program and came out with a new perspective on the world, they told The Spokesman-Review.
“He lives for God and for everybody else. He is the most selfless man I have ever met in my life,” Padula said. “When I was struggling, when I was using drugs still, he just loved the daylights out of me and helped me, as he has done for 1,700 people now who have graduated from our program.”
“He showed Christ’s love to me and changed my life radically,” Amanda Padula said.
Others at the church also spoke out about Remington’s impact on their life.
“When I was in my darkest time he was the one who pulled me out,” said Deborah Young, a former addict who went through the Good Samaritan program in 2014.
Numerous police agencies are looking for Odom, who witnesses said fled the scene in a 2004 Honda Accord with Idaho plate K578519. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, and is about 6 feet tall and 170 pounds.
Police believe he’s armed and dangerous, and are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911 immediately and not attempt to approach him.