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‘Unbelievable’: Community in shock after gunman opens fire outside of church

By KCCI Staff

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    AMES, Iowa (KCCI) — The Ames community is in shock after a gunman opened fire outside of Cornerstone Church.

The shooting happened during Salt Company, a college ministry program at the church. It was the first summer night of the program at Cornerstone.

Officials say three people are dead, including the suspected gunman.

James Stratton and Rheya Spigner were in Ames and spoke to community members about the tragic shooting.

KCCI spoke with Kacey Pierce, a student who went to Cornerstone for Thursday night’s program. He said that he and his friends came to the church after the shooting happened. The group got out of their car and said they saw others ducking behind their cars. They didn’t know what was happening. Pierce described a few men trying to take charge to protect people, alerting people to get away from the scene.

KCCI reporters say the community response is one of disbelief. That a shooting like this could happen at a church in Iowa.

“For that to happen at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. If you would have told me that a bit ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. It’s unbelievable, honestly,” Pierce said.

Scott, a member of the church that KCCI spoke to, was not an eyewitness but had prayed with a student that was at the scene. The student had shared with him that he performed CPR on one of the shooting victims.

“It’s just hard to comprehend,” Scott said.

“Very hard to comprehend what he just witnessed of the actual shooting there, and tried to resuscitate the one girl. From what he said, the gunman got out and he witnessed him get out of the car and shoot… and watched that happen and shoot another girl as she was walking away and then shot himself… It’s just hard to comprehend,” Scott said.

The Story County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation is ongoing and expected to continue into Friday. They will provide an update at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Cornerstone Pastor Mark Vance released the following statement:

“Tonight, a tragic shooting occurred involving two young members of our Cornerstone Church community. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not able to give any details at this time. We can say, however, that we are more than saddened by the events that transpired. Our hearts break for all involved, and we are praying for everyone affected. Our Ministry staff are available to support all those impacted, and we will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as they complete their full investigation.

“We sincerely appreciate the responsiveness of the Story County Sheriff’s Department, Ames PD, and all Law Enforcements Officials who have handled this matter with exceptional professionalism and compassion. Please join us in praying for all affected and their families.

“For anyone interested, we will be holding a prayer service tomorrow, June 3, 2022, at 10 AM, at Cornerstone Church of Ames, 56829 US HWY 30, Ames, IA, 50010. All are welcome to attend in-person or join us online at”

Governor Kim Reynolds released the following statement via Facebook:

“Tonight’s act of senseless violence took the lives of two innocent victims at their place of worship. Kevin and I grieve for their families who have suffered an unfathomable loss. And while the investigation continues and we learn more, we ask that Iowans pray for the victims and their families, the members of Cornerstone Church, and the entire Ames community.”

This is a developing story. KCCI is following the story and will provide updates as they become available.

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