STAR BEACON – Children screamed in terror and hid under the pews at Hiawatha Church of God in Christ on Sunday, witnesses said, as an Ashtabula man was shot and killed by his son just after the Easter service.
Richard Riddle, 52, was leaving the church on Hiawatha Street with his wife at about 1 p.m. when his son, 25-year-old Reshad Riddle, approached him and fired a single round from a handgun, instantly killing Richard, church associate pastor Sean Adams said.
About 150 parishioners were leaving the church in recessional. They ducked down at the sound of the gunshot, pushing their children and grandchildren under the pews as Reshad Riddle entered the church, still carrying the gun and yelling that the shooting was “the will of Allah. This is the will of God,” Adams said.
“It was terrifying,” Adams said. “The children were screaming and people were dialing 911. We were afraid to breathe.”
Reshad Riddle was quickly subdued by officers, who arrived just moments after the shooting, Adams said.
Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said dispatchers received multiple calls from inside the church and immediately called law enforcement mutual aid from every available agency to the scene.
Stell said Reshad Riddle has offered no motive for the shooting.
“Witnesses at the scene said the shooter entered church and made some references to Allah, but we are not sure if that was a motive or if there was a family problem, Stell said. “We have no motive confirmed with family members. There is no indication that the father and son had a bad relationship. Everyone thinks this was very surprising.”