Questions linger about suicide at Raleigh church
Posted January 13, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — The pastor of a Raleigh church that was damaged Saturday when authorities say a man drove an SUV into the building and set it on fire says he met with the man's father on Sunday and prayed for his family.
Rev. Robert Staley of St. Luke the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, however, would not elaborate on the meeting or whether it offered any insight into why Jason Terrell Martin also set fire to his home before shooting himself on the church's front lawn.
"We're deeply grieved at the loss of the young man's life and our community has been praying for him and for God's mercy upon him," Staley said.
It all happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when the Wake County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about a blaze at the home Martin, 20, lived with his parents and sister at 801 Carrington Drive.
Authorities say after setting the fire, he drove about four miles to the church at 12333 Bayleaf Church Road, crashed into its front door and then set the sanctuary on fire.
Martin then shot himself in the head.
"We just can't imagine what his family is going through, and it must be so hard on them," Staley said.
Staley added that Martin's family doesn't go to the church and that he was unsure why it was targeted.
Authorities have not given a motive for the string of acts, only saying no one else was at Martin's home at the time of the fire.
Neighbors said Monday that the family lived in the neighborhood for about 10 years but kept to themselves.
The church suffered extensive fire and smoke damage, forcing churchgoers to observe Sunday Mass at another church.
Until further notice, daily Mass is taking place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday across the street from the church at Carlyle Community House.