Man charged in church shooting remains jailed on $105K bail
911 calls show panic inside Ogden chapel after shooting
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
OGDEN — An Ogden man charged with shooting his father-in-law while the man attended church services will continue to be held in jail on $105,000 cash-only bail.
Charles "Ricky" Jennings, 35, was scheduled to have a bail hearing Thursday, but his defense attorney, Michael Bouwhuis, asked that the issue be continued to a later date to allow him time to meet with his client and look at the evidence in the case. Prosecutor Dean Saunders did not object to the continuance and indicated that the state will ask that Jennings be held on no bail.
Jennings, who appeared in court for the brief hearing, will continue to be held on $105,000 bail until the July 22 hearing. It is also anticipated that he will make a decision whether to request a hearing on the evidence against him at that time.
Jennings is charged with attempted murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated burglary, first-degree felonies; and possession of a firearm by restricted person, a second-degree felony, in connection with incidents on June 16. It was then police say Jennings walked into the St. James the Just Catholic Church, 495 N. Harrison Blvd., after Mass had begun. Within moments of entering, he walked over to the back pew toward his father-in-law, Jim Evans, and shot him in the head without saying a word, according to police.
Emergency dispatchers were flooded with 911 calls from inside the church immediately following the shooting.
"Just get somebody here," a panicked woman cries to 911. "He just came in and shot him."
When the dispatcher asked the woman to check on the victim's condition, she said in tears that she couldn't.
"I'm scared to go over there," she cried.
In another 911 call released this week, Cheryl Jennings, Ricky Jennings' wife, can be heard crying in the background.
"She's outside here on the floor crying," the man told the emergency dispatcher. "Yes, he was shot inside the church in the head."
The man calling 911 then relayed information he received from Cheryl Jennings about who was shot and who the alleged gunman was.
"He's going to get my son," she can be heard saying in the background when asked where she thinks Ricky Jennings was headed.
Another caller, Joe Callon, said he heard the shooting but didn't see who did it. "I don't know. We hurried and got down on the floor."
"Please send someone right now," another call pleaded.
Darla Perry also urged 911 dispatchers to send help immediately.
"All the people and kids are crying. Send the police," she can be heard on the call. "They're all on the floor, laying under the pews."
Another caller from inside the church wasn't even aware that someone had been injured, believing the shot was fired into the air.
At one point, the church's pastor, The Rev. Erik J. Richtsteig, also called 911 and gave police a detailed description of who allegedly shot Evans.
Jennings was arrested about 3 ½ hours after the shooting after he allegedly ran to a nearby neighborhood and approached two different people before taking a vehicle from one of them. The pickup he allegedly stole at gunpoint eventually ran out of gas and police say he called family who alerted police to his location.
Evans was shot near his right ear and, while doctors said Evans will need to undergo several more procedures and reconstruction surgeries, he is expected to make a full recovery. He was upgraded to fair condition on Tuesday at McKay-Dee Hospital Center and was moved out of the intensive care unit.
There is no known motive for the shooting, though police have said there had been incidents of domestic violence recently between Jennings and his wife that had extended into her family but did not provide any details. The Rev. Richtsteig also confirmed there had been threats made recently by Jennings against Evans but declined to elaborate.
Detectives said drugs and/or alcohol may have been factors. Police have said there was no evidence to suggest Jennings' wife knew what was going to happen.
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