CENTENNIAL, Wyo. — A Wyoming pastor was shot and wounded with his own handgun after apparently interrupting a burglary at his rural church.
Dennis Lynn Davis, 44, pastor of the Centennial Valley Community Church, about 28 miles west of Laramie, was airlifted to a Cheyenne hospital Tuesday evening with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.
Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree said deputies were called to the Centennial Valley Community Church, about 28 miles west of Laramie, at about 8:20 p.m.
DeBree said Davis told authorities that he interrupted a burglar and was shot with his own .380-caliber handgun during a struggle.
“It’s alleged to be a burglary, but that’s still under investigation,” DeBree said, adding that nothing is missing from the church.
Randy Svalina of Centennial serves on the board of elders of the church. He said Wednesday afternoon that surgery at a Cheyenne hospital apparently went well for Davis.
“He is recovering and expected to be OK,” Svalina said.
Davis told authorities that the burglar was about 6 feet tall and wore a black ski mask and camouflaged clothing.
The shooting prompted a law enforcement search until early Wednesday around Centennial, a picturesque village at the foot of Wyoming’s Snowy Range. No sign of any burglar was found.
Svalina said the non-denominational church was founded in the mid-1980s. He said Davis is originally from Missouri and had been the full-time pastor for about three years. He said the congregation of the church ranges from 50 to 70.
“Obviously, in a small community and a very tightknit church, everybody is duly shocked but doing well,” Svalina said.
Svalina said the church hadn’t experienced any earlier burglaries. He said Davis is married and said he and his wife have children.