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Suspect Sought in Killings of Wife and Church Pastor in Florida

Authorities in Florida are hunting for a suspect they believe killed his wife, a church pastor, and another woman in Bradenton Thursday.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Andres “Andry” Avalos is a suspect in all three sayings, and were trying to find him Thursday evening. Deputies were called to Bayshore Baptist Church on a report of a shooting at 1:20 p.m. and found the body of the pastor, James Battle, who had been fatally shot, authorities told NBC station WFLA.

Deputies later found the bodies of Avalos’ wife, Amber Avalos, and another woman at a home about 10 miles away, the station reported. A church member and the Bayshore website say Amber Avalos was nursery and children’s director at the church. The other woman’s identity was not released. Authorities say Avalos was last seen driving a gold-colored 2003 Chevrolet Suburban.

The couple has six children, and officials told WFLA all are accounted for and safe. Bayshore church member told WFLA that she was devastated by the shooting. “I’m heartsick, heartsick, I just want to crawl under a rock and wake up,” Barbara Holland told the station.

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— Phil Helsel