On Saturday, pastor Tim Remington put his arm around Ted Cruz and then delivered a rousing invocation at a campaign rally in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Now Remington is on the receiving end of prayers after being shot in the skull and back after his Sunday sermon.
Early Monday morning, authorities identified a suspect in the unholy shooting: a 30-year-old local man and former Marine named Kyle Andrew Odom.
As authorities launched a manhunt for Odom, questions remained over a possible motive, particularly whether the shooting was in any way related to Remington’s appearance with Cruz roughly 24 hours earlier.
“Odom should be considered to be armed and dangerous,” Coeur d’Alene Police said in a statement posted to Facebook.
Some members of Remington’s Altar Church speculated that the shooting might have stemmed from the pastor’s efforts to help drug addicts.
Remington’s supporters, meanwhile, called his survival nothing short of a “miracle.”
“One of the bullets TRIED to enter the brain but stopped at the skull,” Roger Crigger, a family friend wrote on Facebook. “Emergency room [technicians] and [doctors] are calling this a miracle, I’m saying, by today’s worldly standards it IS a miracle.”
The strange shooting came on the heels of a rare campaign rally in the city of 46,000, tucked into the northwestern corner of Idaho about 75 miles from the Canadian border.
This weekend should have been an uplifting moment for Remington, 55. Instead, it soon turned hellish.
Originally from Riverside, Calif., Remington was not your typical Evangelical preacher. Pastor Tim, as he liked to be called, and his wife, Cindy, used to run a coffee house in San Bernardino.
— D Murphy (@Murph7071) March 7, 2016
“It was there they became interested in street ministry and the people that are typically ignored; those who have problems with drugs, alcohol, and perversion,” according to Altar Church’s website. “The street ministry days, from San Bernardino to L.A., taught Tim more about drugs and alcohol than all the education he ever had.”
On Saturday, that good work appeared to be rewarded when Remington gave the invocation at Cruz’s Coeur d’Alene rally. The pastor and the presidential candidate also locked arms and prayed, eyes closed and heads bowed, before Cruz delivered a fiery speech denouncing radical Islam and Donald Trump to around 3,000 supporters, according to the Spokesman-Review.
A day later, Remington was walking to his car after delivering a Sunday sermon when he was ambushed.
The gunman had attended Remington’s sermon, John Padula, outreach pastor at Altar Church, told the Spokesman-Review after watching security footage of the incident.
The man “kind of wandered around” the church after the sermon before going outside and waiting in his car, Padula told the newspaper. When Remington opened his own car door, the shooter walked up behind him “and just started shooting him in the back.”
“It didn’t look like the first time he had shot,” Padula said, suggesting that the shooter might have a military background. “He stood pretty professional as he was shooting.”
The gunman then drove off in a 2004 silver Honda Accord, according to police.
It’s unclear how many times, exactly, Remington was shot. Some reports said it could have been as many as six times, although Crigger only mentioned three.
In addition to the bullet to the pastor’s skull, Crigger said “one of the bullets busted his hip, one fractured his shoulder pretty bad, but he is and will continue to be ALIVE AND SERVING GOD!”
Padula said the pastor had been shot in the lung, head, hip and shoulder but would survive.
“He’s absolutely fine,” he told the Spokesman-Review.
Bullet holes riddled the pastor’s car and shell casings littered the parking lot of the church, the newspaper reported. Two men from the church ran over and helped provide first aid until paramedics could arrive.
Little information was immediately available about the alleged shooter, Kyle Andrew Odom.
A photo from his Facebook page shows a blond man with glasses wearing a dress shirt and tie. The page says that Odom is from Coeur d’Alene, served as a corporal in the Marine Corps and studied biochemistry at the University of Idaho.
“We need to make sure this individual is taken off the streets as quickly as possible,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White told the Spokesman-Review.
Members of Remington’s church were baffled as to why someone would try kill their pastor.
“He did not deserve this,” May Traverso, told the Spokesman-Review between tears. “I don’t get this.”
Several church members said they personally had been saved from drug addiction by Pastor Tim.
“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 our program,” said Padula, whose daughter also credited Remington with saving her from addiction.
“When I was in my darkest time he was the one who pulled me out,” added Deborah Young.
The Cruz campaign issued a statement praying for Remington’s full recovery.
“Our prayers are with Pastor Tim, his family, and the doctors who are supervising his care,” Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the campaign, told NBC News. “We pray for his full recovery and are thankful for the efforts of law enforcement to ensure the attacker is swiftly brought to justice.”
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