The Parish Priest of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, Sobe, in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, Rev. Father Peter Ayala, was, Sunday morning, found dead in his apartment, few hours before he was due to conduct the 7a.m mass.
Vanguard gathered that the cleric was said to be cleaning his double-barreled gun inside his apartment within the church premises, when the gun reportedly went off and killed him.
It was gathered that the incident took place in the early hours of Sunday before the Priest dressed up for the mass even as worshippers were said to be gathering for the service.
The incident, it was learnt, threw the church into confusion as mass servers and church elders made frantic efforts to know what went wrong with congregation waiting for the mass to begin but found the priest lying dead in his apartment.
The Elders were said have later reported the incident to the Bishop of the Auchi Diocese, Dr Gabriel Duniya, who it was gathered conducted a quick investigation with security agents and confirmed that the priest died when the rifle he was cleaning went off.
Meanwhile, Sobe was still in mourning, yesterday, as the worshippers, irrespective of their denominations, on hearing the tragic news gathered near the church premises, discussing the incident in hush tones.
Contacted, the Edo State Police Public Relations, DSP Moses Eguavoen said the incident was unfortunate, adding that the state command was yet to get the full details of what transpired before the Priest’s death.