An armed Florida pastor returned fire at a man who began shooting after being told during a church meeting that he was being fired from his job as a maintenance worker at the church.
Police say that 47-year-old Benjamin Parangan, Jr. pulled out a gun and started shooting at Living Water Fellowship Church pastor Terry Howell during the meeting, which convened Tuesday morning to inform Parangan of his termination.
None of the bullets struck Howell, who pulled out his own gun and fired several times, according to WFTV.
Parangan, who had worked at the church for several years, was hit and was taken to Osceola Regional Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.
Nearly 20 children were on site at the church, which has approximately 1,000 parishioners and is located near Kissimmee.
“Approximately 16 children were here at the time,” Osceola County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain said. “They were not affected by the incident that occurred. As a precaution, we did notify the parents, and all the children have been picked up at this time.”
Howell left the church several hours after the shooting. Lizasuain said that the shooting was being treated as self-defense.