Motive in Wisconsin church murder-suicide a mystery

Monday, March 28, 2005 Seven members of a church were killed by Terry Ratzmann, age 44, in Brookfield, Wisconsin March 12. After shooting eleven people, Ratzmann fatally shot himself. Four victims died at the scene; three others died at a nearby hospital.

There is no clear motive but police say that Ratzmann, a long-time member of the Protestant Living Church of God, may have been angered by the teachings of church leader, Roderick Meredith. Apparently, Meredith's teachings differed from those Herbert Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, of which the Living Church of God is a member. Armstrong died in 1986 and Meredith formed a splinter group of the faith which Raztmann joined shortly thereafter.

Church members said that Ratzmann, described as a loner, had been depressed since he was laid off as an engineering technician in 2002. He had been working occasionally at contract jobs since then and his most recent contract as a computer technician was scheduled to end March 25, a week before the shootings.

Mourners created a make-shift memorial outside the Living Church of God building in remembrance of the seven victims.