According to a story by Claire Heininger in the Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger, Reshma James, 24, died of her injuries about 4 p.m., at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Paterson, Clifton police Detective Capt. Robert Rowan.
The two other victims, a 47-year-old woman, who was the younger woman's cousin, and a 23-year-old man, remain in extremely critical condition in an area hospital. All three were shot in the head, the Star-Ledger reported Rowan said.
St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church (from church website).
The gunman, identified as 27-year-old Joseph "Sanish" Pallipurath of Sacramento, Calif, opened fire in the vestibule of St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church, an Asian-Indian house of worship in Clifton, the Star-Ledger reported authorities said.
Police believe Pallipurath drove to New Jersey from his home in California.
The Star-Ledger reported that police are still searching for Pallipurath, who they said escaped in a 1994 green, soft-topped Jeep with California license plate No. 5JHD200. He is believed to still have the silver handgun he used in the shooting and is considered dangerous, police said.
James had escaped what police described as an abusive marriage. The Star-Ledger reported police said the abuse dated to their years in India, then continued after they moved to California. Most recently, James had left him to live with a relative in New Jersey, where she filed a restraining order against her husband, Rowan said.
The Star-Ledger reported that the restraining order wasn't enough to stop Pallipurath, who confronted his wife and the two others in the church vestibule, toward the end of a three-hour Sunday service, Rowan said. It was unclear why the three victims were not with the rest of the congregation in the sanctuary.
Once inside the church, Pallipurath confronted his wife, and after a brief argument, opened fire on all three.
The Star-Ledger said multiple 911 calls appear to have been made from the church. A variety of law enforcement agencies are working the case.
According to the church website (www.stthomasnj.org), members are mostly first-generation immigrants from India, and their children. They had belonged to St. Peter's Parish in Yonkers, N.Y., according to the website. The congregation moved into its current location in 2000, making it the largest church in the North American Knanaya Community.
The Star-Ledger reported that Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi said he heard about the shooting while attending Sunday service in a different church.
“It's a shock, that somebody would have gone into a church like that,” he said. “You always hear about those things happening out west. It's a terrible thing.”
The Record of Bergen County reported that John Daniel of West Paterson said he was home sick when he received a call from his wife who, along with their 17-year-old son, attended the service.
Daniel said his wife called him on her cell phone and told him that she was down on the floor, someone was shooting and that he should call 911.
The Record reported that when asked if it would be difficult to return to the church, Daniel said, “Does it stop us from coming to church? No way.”