2 shot dead in front of Chicago church during Sunday morning service

Chicago church shooting

Crime scene tape marks off an area around Friendship Baptist Church as a man and two young girls stand nearby. (Photo: Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune)

Two men were shot and killed as they prepared to enter a Sunday morning worship service at a church in the South Austin area of Chicago.

The victims were identified as Emmanuel Fleming, 34, and Michael Swift, 46. Authorities believe Fleming was the intended target and Swift, who was a visitor to the church that morning, an innocent bystander.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Fleming recently started attending the church as part of an effort to “turn over a new leaf.” Fleming was an usher for the church and his three young children, all of whom were present at the time their father was killed, were baptized there.

“There should be a sanctuary from violence, and I believe that the church should be one of those sanctuaries,” said Rev. Reginald Bachus, who pastors at Friendship Baptist Church, where the shooting occurred.

“It’s time for us to make a change in our city,” Bachus added.

Chicago Police Cmdr. Dwayne Betts echoed a similar sentiment, saying, “When this cycle of violence reaches the doorsteps of a church, we are really in trouble.”

Police say the two men were gathered in front of the church just after 11 a.m. as church members and guests made their way inside where about 100 people were already singing hymns.

“They were on their way up the steps to the church, and two gentlemen ran up from Jackson (Boulevard) and basically unloaded on them,” said Bachus, who witnessed part of the mayhem.

Fleming’s three children were outside with him when the suspects appeared, but according to Bachus, as soon as Fleming saw the suspects, he yelled at his children to get inside the church and take cover. Bachus rushed the children inside and, seconds later, a volley of gunshots outside could be heard from inside the church.

Fleming and Swift were rushed to the hospital, but despite efforts to save them, both men succumbed to their injuries.

Bachus said the idea that something like this could happen on the steps of his church is hard for him to grasp.

No suspects are in custody at this time, but they were said to have fled the scene in a silver SUV and reports indicate they may have been captured on camera.

The investigation is ongoing.

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

  • Springfield SAINT: Your High-Value AR-15

    The Springfield Armory SAINT offers a high-value, no-frills-required AR-15 platform. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth adding to your collection. After several trips to the range, we can confirm this is a great gun.

    Read More
  • The Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion is an Amazing Pistol

    The Sig Sauer p320 X5 Legion has been on the market for a little while now. So I wanted to bring you a review after shooting more than 30,000 rounds through mine over a year of competing in 3-gun and USPSA.

    Read More
  • 17 Reasons to Love the Glock 17

    Glock 17s are trusted by law enforcement and militaries around the world. But they are also great guns for civilians. Here are our top 17 reasons to get a Glock 17.

    Read More
  • Sig P320 vs. Sig P365 for Concealed Carry

    Sig’s P365 and P320 offer two great options for concealed carry. Their compact sizes and high magazine capacities make them excellent choices for everyday carry. They're also easy to customize.

    Read More