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Utah man shot in head by in-law to survive

OGDEN, Utah -- A Utah man is expected to survive after his son-in-law walked into Father's Day Catholic Mass and shot him in the head in front of a congregation of 300 people, many of whom hit the floor, then helped try to stop the bleeding and chase after the suspect.

James Evans, 65, was in critical condition Monday, but has made steady progress, said Dr. Barbara Kerwin, the director of the intensive care unit at McDay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. The bullet went through his ear and out his cheek, missing his brain.

Police say Charles Richard Jennings Jr., 35, walked into Mass hand-in-hand with his wife, Evans' daughter, just before noon Sunday at St. James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden. Authorities said Jennings went straight up to Evans and shot him in the head. He and his wife, Tara Evans, were standing right before communion.

"He turned his head just at the right time," said Tara Evans on Monday, crying.

If her husband hadn't turned, the bullet would have hit the back of his head and killed him, Tara Evans said.

Jennings, known to most as "Ricky," and his wife, Cheryl Jennings, had a history of domestic disputes, said Ogden Police Lt. Danielle Croyle.

Those problems appear to have spilled over into the extended family, she said, though she stopped short of stating a motive. They suspect Jennings may have been using drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting, she said.

Jennings stole a truck at gunpoint from a nearby house and drove north on the highway trying to elude police, authorities said. He was caught later on foot after the truck ran out of gas, Croyle said.

Jennings was booked on suspicion of attempted aggravated criminal homicide, aggravated robbery and possession of a firearm by a restricted user. The Weber County District Attorney is expected to file formal charges Tuesday.


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