Gunman kills two at Christian missionary centre

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A gunman killed two people at a training centre dormitory for young Christian missionaries early yesterday after being told he could not spend the night, and hours later four people were shot outside a church in Colorado Springs.

It was not immediately known whether the shootings, about 65 miles apart, were related. No arrests had been made in either attack by afternoon.

The conditions of the four people shot Sunday afternoon in Colorado Springs, in the parking lot of the New Life Church, were not immediately known, El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Lari Sevene said.

The first shooting happened at about 12:30 a.m. yesterday morning at the Youth With a Mission centre in Arvada, a Denver suburb, police spokeswoman Susan Medina said.

A man and a woman were killed and two men were wounded, Medina said. All four were staff members with the centre, said Paul Filidis, a Colorado Springs-based spokesman with Youth With a Mission.

The gunman came to the door of the Arvada dormitory seeking shelter, asking if he could spend the night, said Peter Warren, director of Youth With a Mission Denver.

When told he could not stay, the man walked inside, opened fire, then left on foot, Warren said.

Warren said he did not know if any of the students or staff knew the gunman. "We don't know why" he came to the dormitory, Warren said.

Witnesses told police that the gunman was a 20-year-old white male, wearing a dark jacket and skull cap, who left on foot. He may have glasses or a beard.

Police with dogs searched the area through the night, and residents of nearby homes were alerted to be on the lookout. Medina said residents were asked to look out their windows for any tracks left in the snow during the night. About 4 inches of snow had fallen in the area in the past day.

Early yesterday afternoon, Lance Coles, a pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, received a report that a man was shooting at people in the church parking lot and that the gunman may have entered the church, he told The Associated Press.

New Life was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was fired last year after a former male prostitute alleged he had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with him. Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitted committing undisclosed "sexual immorality."

The New Life church is one of Colorado's largest with about 10,000 members.

Police in Arvada identified the victims of the shooting there as Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 23. Youth With a Mission said Johnson was from Minnesota and Crouse was from Alaska. Their hometowns were not immediately available.

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