Alleged gunman in Pelham, N.H., faces additional charges, including attempted murder

Police tape barred the entrance to New England Pentecostal Ministries, where a shooting took place during a wedding on Saturday.
Police tape barred the entrance to New England Pentecostal Ministries, where a shooting took place during a wedding on Saturday. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Dale Hollaway is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Dale Hollaway is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Pelham, N.H., Police Department

PELHAM, N.H. — The man accused of shooting the bride and the minister during a wedding at a church Saturday morning is facing additional charges, including attempted murder, authorities announced Sunday.

Dale Holloway, 37, is also charged with causing bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon, second-degree assault, simple assault, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said.

Holloway also was charged Saturday with first-degree assault for allegedly shooting Bishop Stanley Choate, 75, as he officiated at the wedding at New England Pentecostal Ministries.

He is due to be arraigned Tuesday in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua.


Holloway allegedly shot Choate and the bride, Claire McMullen, 60, as she wed Mark Castiglione, also 60, before dozens of guests in attendance at the church.

Choate, who was struck in the chest, remained in serious condition Sunday at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. McMullen, who was shot in the arm, was due to be released on Sunday from a Pelham-area hospital, senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin J. Agati said in a statement.

Castiglione was not shot, but Holloway allegedly struck him in the head with his gun, according to the statement.

Holloway was convicted of a felony in Massachusetts’ Suffolk Superior Court, Agati said, but he did not name the offense. A spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office could not immediately confirm Holloway’s conviction on Sunday.

The new charges were announced on a day when family, friends and churchgoers struggled to make sense of an unfathomable crime.

Dale Holloway Sr., father of the accused gunman, said by phone Sunday that he had nothing to do with his son’s alleged crime and declined to comment further.

Agati confirmed Sunday that Holloway was the stepson of Luis Garcia, 60, a minister at New England Pentecostal Ministries who was killed Oct. 1 and whose funeral at the church was scheduled for noon Saturday.


The man charged in Garcia’s killing is 24-year-old Brandon Castiglione, the son of Mark Castiglione, the groom in Saturday’s wedding.

Luis Garcia, who was shot and killed on Oct. 1.
Luis Garcia, who was shot and killed on Oct. 1. Handout

Asked whether authorities believe vengeance for Garcia’s killing was the motivation behind Saturday’s shootings, Agati said that theory is under investigation.

“I have no comment on whether this was or was not an act of revenge, but we are investigating that as a possibility,” Agati said in an e-mail to the Globe.

In an interview with WMUR-TV in New Hampshire, Angelo Castiglione, the 87-year-old father of Mark and grandfather of Brandon, told the station “I thought I was in the Twilight Zone,” when he saw the violence erupt at the wedding.

He said McMullen had been excited for her wedding day.

“I saw the figure in black just run right up the stairs and face the bishop. Bishop turned around and just ‘boom boom,’ ” he said, mimicking shooting a gun. Then, he said, the gunman turned his pistol on Mark Castiglione and his bride.

Soon, Angelo Castiglione said, his other son and the wedding’s best man had grabbed the shooter, wrestled him to the ground, and taken the gun.

He declined to discuss allegations that his grandson killed Garcia, saying, “The whole situation is sad.”

Garcia’s widow, Patti Garcia, did not respond to requests for comment. At her home in Manchester, N.H., a cross decorated with autumn leaves hung on the front door, bearing the simple message, “Blessings.”


A man who answered the Garcias’ door declined to identify himself. Speaking briefly to a reporter, he said, “Who has a wedding celebration with the family that killed the person the same day as the funeral? When they’re coming out smiling about the wedding, we’re going in sad about a funeral. Think about that.”

Garcia’s stepdaughter, Stephanie Merritt, also declined to be interviewed, saying by phone, “We’re mourning, and were not ready to talk right now.”

Crisis counselors were made available for residents at the local community center. Sunday services were cancelled at New England Pentacostal Ministries, where yellow crime-scene tape was wrapped around the property Sunday.

Members of the Choate family declined to speak to reporters, but several posted messages about the bishop on social media.

“My grandpa is a powerful man of God,” Victoria Choate wrote on Facebook. “I love him so much and look up to him and everything he is about as a person! All I can do is spread love not hate and know God’s in control. Please Keep him and my family in your prayers.”

A police car outside of New England Pentecostal Ministries.
A police car outside of New England Pentecostal Ministries.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Local faith leaders, some of whom have worked with Bishop Choate in the community, condemned the violence and prayed for him.

“Our hope is that the violence ends, and that there is healing for all involved,” said the Rev. Volney DeRosia, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Pelham. “We are lifting up Bishop Choate, Claire McMullen, their families, and NEP Ministries in our prayers in this traumatic time.”


DeRosia said the congregation is “shocked and appalled by this act of violence in our community.”

DeRosia said he didn’t know Choate well, but “he has always struck me as a good man, very hospitable, and caring deeply for his flock.”

The Rev. Chris James, pastor at Mill City Church in Lowell, said his congregation is in mourning.

“The Scriptures tell us to ‘weep with those who weep.’ That’s what we’re doing today,” James said in an e-mail. “Any act of violence against our neighbors is both tragic and senseless. But, it’s especially sobering when something like this happens in sacred spaces. No one should ever fear for their safety while attending church or a wedding.”

The Rev. Bonnie Moore, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Pelham, said her church partners every year with New England Pentecostal Ministries and St. Patrick Church to host a community Thanksgiving feast.

“The Pentecostal Church hosted last year, and it was a fun and inspiring service,” Moore said in an e-mail. Moore said her church is offering prayers and support to Choate and his church.

At Pelham police headquarters on Sunday, residents in the town of about 14,000 near the Massachusetts border dropped off food for officers who had worked long hours at the scene.

“They were realizing the first responders went through a lot,” Pelham police Sergeant Brian Barbato said. “It was their way of showing their appreciation. We have a really close relationship with our town.”


A police officer walked past New England Pentecostal Ministries on Sunday.
A police officer walked past New England Pentecostal Ministries on Sunday.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Globe correspondent Max Reyes contributed to this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Naomi Martin can be reached at naomi.martin@globe.com.