Pendleton mourns shooting victim
By Friday evening, the shock of what happened in Pendleton that morning was starting to wear off and reality was setting in for a community traumatized by deadly gunfire and the police standoff that followed.
Hundreds in the community came together and prayed at Pendleton Christian Church.
"Help us to mourn. Help us to grieve. Help us to be comforted as much as possible tonight," prayed Pastor Jay Harvey.
The family of shooting victim Neal Shull embraced and cried over the sudden loss.
"Even in the midst of evil and even in the midst of this horrific pain, this family is going to feel now and so many other that God is still on the throne, he's still in control and he will make something good of this," Harvey told those gathered.
Shull's mother spoke about the love expressed for her son.
"Everybody said what a great man he was and that was very true. Just a pillar of the community and everybody knew him and he was very well respected and a great husband, a great father and a great son and a great brother," said Linda Shull.
The service was also a time to thank first responders at the shooting scene and pray for all emergency crews who respond to tragedy every day.
"I grieve for this family and I grieve for the community and I grieve for the officers and I grieve for those who have had to deal with this on an ongoing basis," Harvey told the crowd.
"I think its just really representative of what this community's all about. We stay together. Pray together, support each other. That's the beauty of a small town," said Brian Arthur after the service.
"I don't think anybody could have said anything better. We just should pray for the families involved in this and stick together," added Nicole Widener.
That's what Shull's family is concentrating on right now.
"You find out what's really important is family, friends, and neighbors and community," explained Linda Shull.
The family has a whole community behind them, crying with them.
The Pendleton community will have a chance to come together again Saturday night. An event called "Honoring Hometown Heroes" at Falls Park was already in the works to honor the community's first responders.
After what happened Friday morning, the event has taken on a deeper significance.
The bystander killed in a shooting in Pendleton overnight was well known and well liked, and this small community is now mourning a senseless loss of life.
John Neal Shull, 48, was known as Neal. He was just yards from his home on Water Street when police say a man he didn't know - Jim Kenneth Bailey, 58, of New Castle - fatally shot him.
Bailey was later found dead from a gunshot wound that may have been self-inflicted. Now this small community is trying to make sense of a random act of violence that took the life of an innocent man.
A neighbor said the woman who lives in the house next door to Shull's reported that her estranged husband was armed and threatening her life. Shull was driving past the house at around 11:00 pm when it was sprayed with gunfire. His vehicle came to stop just yards from his own home.
Shull's wife Noelle heard the gunfire and looked outside, but had no way of knowing that it was her husband who had been shot and killed at that moment.
"The gunfire, the shooting, police everywhere, it was so dark I didn't know that was my husband's truck behind the other truck. I thought it was but I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Why? What was the purpose of this man shooting my husband who was only trying to come home? He wasn't trying to interfere. He was just trying to come home. It was senseless. Absolutely senseless," said Noelle Shull.
She said she felt anger "at the person who did this. Absolutely. He was just - my husband was just a man trying to come home to his wife. That's all it was. But anger won't get you anywhere."
Police say Neal Shull was killed well before officers were able to return fire. They also think he may have been the first person struck by the bullets. Two officers were also injured and a police K-9 was killed.
Shull was a painter by trade and an avid restorer of vintage cars. His Facebook page shows him restoring several different antique cars. He organized a classic car show in Pendleton and Noelle Shull hopes the show will continue in honor of her husband's memory.