Gunman kills man at church during Sunday morning mass

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – A terrifying shooting incident occurred at the Church of Santa Maria during Sunday mass around 11:40 local time. Turkish officials promptly launched an investigation into the “vile attack”, as described by Turkey’s Interior Minister, while police commenced a manhunt for the suspects.

Although the motive behind the shooting is currently unclear, officials believe it was a targeted attack. CCTV footage shared by Turkish media showed two gunmen entering the back of the church while worshippers were facing the altar. The gunmen shot a man dressed in black who had just entered, and then left the scene calmly.

The incident took place in the 19th-century church, located near a fish market by the Bosphorus on Istanbul’s European side. Following the incident, police sealed off the streets surrounding the church, and inside, statements were gathered from the witnesses.

The Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, who visited the site, confirmed a victim identified as CT had been killed in the attack. The uncle of the deceased said the victim was a 52-year-old man who was about to convert to Christianity.

Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, vowed to protect the city’s peace and unity from those who target places of worship, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences. Erdogan assured that actions were in motion to apprehend the killers who, he anticipated, would be found “within 24 hours”.

Expressing solidarity, the Pope mentioned his “closeness to the community of the Santa Maria church” during his weekly prayer at the Vatican.

This type of aggression towards Turkey’s Christian minority is infrequent. The local mayor stated that the harmonious coexistence of Muslims and Christians in the area had been disrupted, leaving the community in shock.