Northwest Nebraska church where fatal shooting occurred will be blessed Wednesday night

Northwest Nebraska church where fatal shooting occurred will be blessed Wednesday night
Law enforcement officers investigate an officer-involved shooting at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Rushville, Nebraska. Clarence Leading Fighter was shot to death by a Sheridan County sheriff's deputy inside the church.

A Catholic church in northwest Nebraska where a man was fatally shot over the weekend will be blessed following a Mass on Wednesday night.

The bishop of the Diocese of Grand Island, the Most Rev. Joseph Hanefeldt, is scheduled to meet and pray with members of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Rushville at 6 p.m. MDT Wednesday in the church basement, according to a Facebook post from the church’s pastor, the Rev. Joseph K. Joseph.

At 6:30 p.m., Joseph said, he will celebrate a Mass and bless the church.

Sunday, a Sheridan County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man just inside the church’s doors. The man, later identified as Clarence Leading Fighter, 32, was a suspect in an assault that had occurred elsewhere less than an hour earlier, the Nebraska State Patrol said.

Leading Fighter died later Sunday from his injuries, the patrol said.

An initial investigation indicated that the deputy used deadly force to protect himself and the parishioners from potential serious harm, the patrol said.

Joseph has said that the event was traumatic for the 100 to 150 people at the 10:30 a.m. Mass, which was never finished.

The service ended abruptly as deputies cleared out the church after the shooting. Joseph said he tried to offer peace and consolation to the shaken parishioners, and they tried to console him.

Joseph said he didn’t know Leading Fighter, and he wasn’t a member of the church.

The person injured in the earlier assault, which occurred at a Rushville home about 10:20 a.m., suffered a broken arm, the Nebraska State Patrol said. The shooting at the church occurred shortly after 11 a.m.

A patrol spokesman said Tuesday that because officials still are investigating the shooting, he was unable to provide additional information.

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