AMES, IOWA — Story County authorities say the fatal shooting of two women outside an Ames church on Thursday was a targeted incident and the gunman took his own life after shooting them.
The shooting happened just before 7:00 p.m. on Thursday at Cornerstone Church in Ames. The church was hosting a Salt Company gathering when shots were fired outside the building. On Friday morning authorities identified the two shooting victims as 22-year-old Eden Montang and 21-year-old Vivian Flores. The gunman was identified as 32-year-old Johnathan Lee Whitlatch of Boone.
Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald says that Whitlatch and Montang had recently ended a relationship. On Tuesday he was arrested in Boone and charged with Harassment and Impersonating a Public Official for an incident involving Montang. He had posted bond and was scheduled to appear in court again next week.
Authorities say that Montang, Flores and another friend were walking into the church from the parking lot when Whitlatch pulled into the parking and climbed out of his truck armed with a 9mm handgun. WHITLATCH reportedly opened fire – striking and killing Montang and Flores instantly. Whitlatch then turned the gun on himself.
An Ames police officer was at the church in a meeting at the time of the shooting. Story County authorities say that officer and others arrived at the scene of the shooting within minutes of the shots being fired.