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7 Slain, 4 Wounded at Wis. Church Service

Alleged Gunman Kills Himself After Assault at Hotel

By Graeme Zielinski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page A07

BROOKFIELD, Wis., March 12 -- A Waukesha County, Wis., man opened fire at a church service at a busy Brookfield hotel Saturday, killing seven people and wounding four others before killing himself, police said.

Four victims and the gunman were dead when police arrived at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel, Police Chief Daniel Tushaus said. Three others died after being taken to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa.

Police secure the scene outside a hotel church service where a man killed seven people and wounded four others. (Allen Fredrickson -- Reuters)

Six of the dead were males, ages 15, 17, 44, 50, 58 and 72. The other was a 55-year-old woman. The four surviving victims included three females, including a 10-year-old who was in stable condition at Children's Hospital, and a 20-year-old man.

Police identified the shooter as a 45-year-old man. He used a handgun in the shootings, police said. No motive was immediately known.

Police have not released the names of any of the victims or the gunman.

The shootings occurred at a regularly scheduled Living Church of God gathering in a meeting room at the hotel shortly before 1 p.m. Police said the gunman was affiliated with the church.

The church had met weekly at the Brookfield Sheraton for the past four or five years, police said.

No other suspects are being sought.

A Toyota pickup truck was towed from the scene, and investigators descended on a New Berlin neighborhood, where police had closed a street while they investigated a two-story house.

New Berlin Mayor Telesfore Wysocki said police told him the gunman lived there with his mother and sister, who were being interviewed by officers as police collected evidence at the house, the Associated Press reported.

"We are in total shock and disbelief," the mayor said.

Authorities said they would not release any more information about the shootings until a Sunday morning news conference.

Some hotel guests remained locked in their rooms after police surrounded the building and would not allow anyone to enter or leave, AP reported.

Karen Suick, 48, said she arrived at the hotel Friday night with 15 players and parents for a hockey tournament.

"One of our hockey dad's two daughters are still in there," she told AP. "They called his cell phone. They were okay, but they were told to go back to their room. So that's what they did."

At least two church groups were holding meetings in the hotel at the time of the shootings, police said.

Brookfield is a western suburb of Milwaukee.

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