Man who shot himself with rifle inside Darke County church in critical condition

Church members hid in the basement Monday evening when a man with a rifle was in the parking lot threatening to harm himself.

The man, identified as 25-year-old Vincent Veloz of Celina, later shot himself with an AR15 inside the Greenville Baptist Temple, 4689 Childrens Home-Bradford Road north of Greenville, according to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the church after 911 callers reported around 6:20 p.m. that an armed man was in the church parking lot. Five people were at the church, including the pastor who reportedly was in the parking lot near the gunman — who was holding a rifle to his head — when crews from the sheriff’s office and Greenville police arrived.

The other church members barricaded themselves in the church basement and deputies were able to bring the pastor to safety.

Veloz went inside the front entrance of the church while keeping the gun pointed at himself and making demands, including that anyone from the church be removed, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

Deputies escorted all the people in the church to sheriff’s cruisers until they were able to be taken from the church property.

The sheriff’s office Special Response Team and tactical medics and crisis negotiators also responded.

Crisis negotiators spoke to Veloz for three hours trying to get him to put down the firearm and surrender,” the release stated. “At 9:26 p.m. Veloz shot himself while in side the church.”

SRT members and tactical paramedics immediately gave lifesaving aid to Veloz while Greenville Twp. Fire and Rescue, which already was staged nearby, responded. Veloz was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where Tuesday afternoon he was listed in critical condition, the release stated.

Veloz is charged with aggravated burglary for trespassing into the church with a deadly weapon while it was occupied. The case is still under review and will be presented to the Darke County prosecutor for review of any additional charges.

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