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Man charged with murder in Salmon Arm church shooting

Last Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 5:50 pm PDT

FILE (iStock Photo)

Man shot to death in Salmon Arm church remembered as a volunteer, foster parent, church elder

Man, 25, arrested after church elder shot to death in Salmon Arm

Young man remembers former foster father as 'like a grandfather,' 'encouraging'

SALMON ARM (NEWS 1130) – Charges have been laid against a 25-year-old man in the shooting death of a 78-year-old man Sunday at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Gordon Parmenter, is being remembered as a church elder, a volunteer and a foster parent. His death has rattled the BC Interior town and left plenty of questions about the suspect and the motive for the shooting.

Another man is recovering from a leg wound.

Matcix Savage Gathergood was arrested after being wrestled to the ground by parishioners.

He has been charged with first-degree murder. He’s also accused of aggravated assault and disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence.

“There is no information to suggest there are any ongoing threats to public safety. Police have determined that at least one of the victims was known to the suspect, and it is not believed at this time the event was religiously motivated,” read a news release from the RCMP.

Parmenter’s son David tells the Salmon Observer they know the suspect very well.

“Why he was focused on dad, I have no clue,” he told the paper.

“He was someone who we wouldn’t have expected to do something like this given all of the previous interactions with him.”

The younger Parmenter calls the incident senseless.

“We’re just very sad, not so much angry because I know that the young guy, he’s got some real struggles. We’re just really sad.”

Sunday’s shooting is not the first tragic incident to befall the family. On March 14th, a suspicious fire reportedly destroyed the Pamenters’ mobile home and all their belongings. Police have yet to say whether or not they believe the two incidents are linked.

An online fundraiser has amassed almost $5,000 to help the family.

A young man who was apparently fostered by Gordon Parmenter and his wife says he’s devastated.

“He was like a grandfather to me. We were quite close. We would do stuff together — working, going out into the mountains. He was always really involved with us,” Cole told NEWS 1130.

“I’ll miss you forever Gordo, you were one of the best men I ever knew,” Cole posted on Facebook.

I'll miss you forever Gordo, you were one of the best men I ever knew.

He remembers Parmenter as an “encouraging” man.

“[He] had hope for each one of us that came into his house,” Cole said. “He always encouraged us to reach what we wanted to do — get a job or go back to school.”

Condolences have also been pouring in on the church’s Facebook page.

“Oh how I wish we were there with all of you!! No words to express our sorrow!! Many, many prayers being lifted up for all of you! Gordon was a GREAT MAN! Our hearts are shattered! Hugs for Peggy and family. Hugs for all of our brothers and sisters!! Cliff and Lori, Molly, Cole and Olivia,” Lori Plummer wrote.

-With files from Lauren Boothby, Adam Cooper, and Espe Currie