Police investigating two reports of shots fired at Gaithersburg church

New Life Seventh day Adventist Church front side view 1bNew Life Seventh day Adventist Church   Photo by Glynis KazanjianPolice are investigating two reports of shots fired at a Gaithersburg church which occurred this week.

A parishioner from the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church at 7401 Muncaster Mill Road notified police Wednesday evening about a bullet hole he found in a window frame at the building’s front entrance. Police responded to the scene and recovered a bullet fragment from the frame.

Montgomery County Police officers from the Sixth District station responded to a second call at the same location on Thursday at 11:13 p.m. about multiple gunshots heard outside the church. Police said gunfire damage occurred again at the front and also along the sides of the church; several shell casings were recovered on Muncaster Mill Road. Police cannot yet confirm the total number of fired shots or from where the shots originated.

A police official not actively involved in the investigation said it does not appear other nearby churches were under fire, as Covenant Life Church is located next to the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Flower Hill Church of the Brethren is directly across the street.

Montgomery County Police Spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said he believes authorities would have been notified if other churches had suffered similar attacks.

"The case has been widely publicized in the area," Starks said. "Outreach has occurred and there's been canvassing as well, in and around the area where that church is. If there is another church that had some vandalism to it, we believe they would have called us."

At this stage in the investigation police were not ready to confirm a suspect, but said because of the presumed timing of the incidents, it appears the church’s parishioners were not the targets. A police officer is currently posted in the parking lot of the Covenant Life Church.

Montgomery County Police are requesting the public's assistance in this investigation. Crime Solvers is also offering a reward up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information that may be useful to the investigation is asked to contact the Sixth District Investigative Section at 240-773-5770.


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