While celebrating his own baptism, Hawaiian man shot in back at Seventh-Day Adventist Church

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Nearly 100 worshipers spilled into the courtyard Saturday afternoon at the Samoa Tokelau Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Honolulu, beginning the celebration of a mass baptism that had just taken place inside.

Among them was Tali Talitonu, a 59-year-old man who had just been christened himself.

Children scattered. People chatted. Then, a gunshot.

The bullet struck Talitonu, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported, hitting him in the back as he stood by a second-floor classroom above the courtyard. Almost immediately, a church elder tracked down the alleged shooter, grabbing the hand of the woman holding the gun and pointing it away from Talitonu and the crowd, according to the newspaper.

Witnesses to the shooting praised the quick response of the elder, identified by multiple news reports as 57-year-old Tony Williams.

“It was almost like superhero,” Sam Tapuolo, who was also baptized Saturday, told ABC affiliate KITV 4 News. “Something out of the movies.”

Talitonu was taken to a local hospital in stable condition.

Violesolo Tavita, 59, was arrested soon after the shooting and later charged with second-degree attempted murder and two weapons charges, the Star-Advertiser reported. Her bail was set at $250,000. There were no media reports of Tavita commenting on the charges against her and no reports that she is represented by a lawyer at this point. Full story


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