Tears welled up in the eyes of Richard Eiland as he recalled finding his pastor shot and dying on the floor of his church following a Bible study class.
"He was laying on the floor in front of the first pew. His wife was with him," Eiland said Thursday. "He was gasping for air."He said the Rev. Andrew Lofton, 65, had wounds in his back and chest.
Police arrested a member of the choir, Kenneth Nance, 58, after Wednesday night's shooting at Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church in suburban Dayton.
Nance had sat quietly during the scripture lesson, in which Lofton explained the Book of Revelation and urging his Bible students to prepare themselves for the afterlife.
After the class, as four or five people were talking to the pastor, Nance pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot Lofton several times, said police Capt. Jim Borland. No one else was injured.
The minister was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital & Health Center, where he died. Investigators had not determined a motive for the shooting.
Borland said Nance turned himself in to police, telling them he had shot a man. Nance was booked on suspicion of murder, pending formal charges.
Associate minister Alphonsa Forward Sr. said Lofton, father of 11 grown children, was a gentle man whose life revolved around the church, a tan brick building with a white steeple at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood.
"He was a man who cared for his people," Forward said. "He was concerned about their salvation and concerned about the way things were going in this world and tried to make people ready."