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Gunman kills 3 in Missouri church rampage

A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church Sunday, killing three people and wounding several others, authorities said.

A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church Sunday, killing three people and wounding several others, authorities said.

Dozens of people were briefly held hostage at the First Congregational Church in Neosho, near the Oklahoma border, before the gunman surrendered, city spokeswoman Desiree Bridges said.

The coroner identified one of the dead as the Rev. Kemal Rehobson, 44, who was shot multiple times.

At least four people were wounded, but several others who were injured fled the scene, according to police Chief Dave McCracken.

The gunman carried two small-calibre handguns and one 9-mm semi-automatic machine pistol with a large magazine, McCracken said.

The shooting followed the 1 p.m. CT church service heldin Spanish. About 50 people, ranging in age from children to the elderly, were in the building at the time.

"At the time that the rescue attempt was successful, we had approximately 20 people in the sanctuary still," McCracken said.

"We had some people who escaped the crime scene prior to the police arrival that were wounded, and we had some people escape during the process and at the time of the rescue."

The shooter, whosurrendered after about 10 minutes of negotiations, is being held at the Newton County jail.

McCracken said he could not confirm whether the gunman was a member of the church, but said an incident involving him and a family that attended the church on Saturday night fuelled Sunday's shooting rampage.

"At this point, though, we don't have any information more than that," he said.

With files from Associated Press