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Wentzville police call shooting at church unintentional

Wentzville police call shooting at church unintentional

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"Tragically unintentional" is how Wentzville detectives are describing a shooting Saturday night at St. Patrick Catholic Church.

The victim, 23-year-old Aaron Dwan, was in serious but stable condition Monday, said Wentzville Police Chief Lisa Harrison.

A "person of interest" came forward Sunday, Harrison said. Police were withholding his name while the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office examined the case to determine whether charges would be filed, she said.

Police responded about 11:22 p.m. Jan. 21 to a report of a shooting at the church at 405 S. Church St. in Wentzville. About 165 people were in the church, cleaning up after a trivia night fundraiser for a cancer patient. Harrison said chairs were being stacked and tables broken down. Balloons were being popped to deflate them for disposal, she said.

That was when Dwan realized he had been shot and fell to the floor, she said. Due to the commotion from the cleanup, few people in the room even realized a shooting had taken place.

Officers did not allow anyone to leave the building. They cordoned off the room where the shooting occurred and moved everyone to the sanctuary, questioning each person and searching them for weapons, then searching their vehicles. The officers searched the entire building from top to bottom, Harrison said, completing the process by 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

At daylight, the officers returned to the church and conducted an exterior search of the grounds, assisted by the O'Fallon, Cottleville, Lake Saint Louis, Foristell and New Melle police departments and the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department.

At 8:45 a.m. Sunday, a man who watched television news coverage of the shooting came to the Wentzville police station with information about the incident. After meeting with this "person of interest," police interviewed six additional people Sunday, Harrison said. Their information led detectives to believe the shooting was unintentional, she said.

On Monday, the police gave prosecutors a summary of the investigation for evaluation of possible charges, she said.

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