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Pastor at repast shooting says center still open and serving community

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 08:54:53-04

A funeral gathering Tuesday afternoon ended in gunfire.

More than 60 people were inside the church hall at the New Song Worship and Arts Center on the 1600 block of N. Calhoun Street for a repast. The meal followed the funeral service of 22-year-old Antonio Addison, who was fatally shot on May 25.

According to police, just after 2:15 p.m. Addison’s brother shot their 47-year-old father in the abdomen at the gathering.

“What we know preliminarily is this is as simple as being mentioned in an obituary and that's some of the early indication of what this argument was over that apparently had been building up throughout the day,” said Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith.

Pastor Louis H. Wilson of the New Song Community Church was upstairs in the center when he first heard the commotion. He thought he'd try to help solve the disagreement peacefully when shots rang out.

“I started running downstairs and thought I might come down and do the pastoral thing but obviously when I heard shots, myself and other staff members didn't think that would be the safe thing to do,” Pastor Wilson said.

Police arrested Antonio Addison, 25, and charged him with attempted first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault as well a multiple gun charges.

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Addison’s father was transported to an area hospital. Tuesday afternoon he was listed in serious, but stable condition. Police said Addison was also injured in an altercation with family members following the shooting.

Pastor Wilson called it a tragedy during what was supposed to be a celebration, but he said the incident won't darken the good they're trying to bring to the community.

“There's not a lot of places in Sandtown that are reasonable where community people can come in and host something and have a context to really be joyous and have fun and so that’s what we try to do,” Wilson said.

The center is also a venue for bible studies, health and wellness clinics, financial management classes, parties, and youth meetings. Despite the incident, Pastor Wilson said they are still open and there to be a resource.

“We're still here. We're still here for you, we want to serve to the best of our ability and as long as the Lord says the same, we'll be here,” he said.

According to online court records, Addison is being held without bail.

Follow Mallory Sofastaii on Twitter @MalloryABC2 and on Facebook @mallorysofastaii.