A California church is mourning the loss of their pastor after his wife allegedly shot him by accident after he entered their home, resulting in his death.
Noah Shepherd, 29, who was the pastor of San Diego Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC), was shot to death by his wife, 26-year-old Gabriella Rose Shepherd, inside their Lemon Grove home on Monday evening.
According to Gabriella, she told 911 dispatchers that she shot him by accident after he walked into their house through the back door. Despite being initially arrested by police, the pastor's wife has been released from jail without facing any charges.
"We are not filing charges at this time," District Attorney's Office spokesperson Tanya Sierra has said, according to Christian Today. "The investigation is ongoing, and we will review the case as we get more information."
Last week, the San Diego RPC issued a statement acknowledging their pastor's death.
"We will remember Rev. Shepherd for the hope of the gospel message he not only preached but believed," the statement reads. "We mourn, not as those without hope, but as those eagerly awaiting eternal life."
"This was Noah's hope, and we rejoice that he is with his crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ, whom he loved and proclaimed," the church continued.
In a statement on Facebook, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America Pacific Coast Presbytery said that there is not sufficient evidence to hold Gabriella accountable for her actions.
"Our primary role here as Presbytery representatives is to care for the congregation in San Diego, of which Gabby is a member. At this time, we have no evidence to contradict her account of the tragic events on Monday evening."
Shephard, a graduate from Westminster Seminary California, was ordained at San Diego RPC last November. In 2016, Noah and Gabriella got married and had two children together, Samuel and Joel.
Erik O'Dell, a friend who attended seminary with Noah, told NBC San Diego that he was "numb" after hearing the tragic news.
"There are no words," he said. "There was just no indication that anything was other than good. They just welcomed their second boy not too long ago."
"This man adores his wife, and she adores him," another friend, Colin Samul, said. "This is completely unexpected. He was a godly man, he was humble, he cared about people."
Katy Wilson, the Shepherds' next-door neighbor, was in her backyard at the time of the shooting, but she initially thought that Noah was hammering something.
"I said, 'Oh, I guess he's hammering,' because there were three more shots, I guess, and then quiet, and I thought, 'Oh, I guess he fixed whatever he was hammering,'" Wilson said.
"No screaming, no fighting, no nothing," she noted. "It's very mysterious."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Douglas Sacha
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.