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Gunman, 33, shot and killed his ex-girlfriend from Iowa State University, 22, and her boyfriend, 21

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An Iowa gunman shot his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in a domestic assault before turning the gun on himself, police have said.

Jonathan Lee Whitlatch, 33, shot dead, Eden Mariah Montang, 22, and Vivian Renee Flores, 21, in the parking lot outside Cornerstone Church of Armes, near Des Moines, Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald said.

He shot them with a 9MM pistol after a fallout with Montang, the local sheriff said at a Friday news conference.

Whitlatch and Montang had recently broken up and Whitlatch had harassed his ex-girlfriend. He had just been charged Tuesday with domestic violence and impersonating a public servant. Both charges were related to Montang and a restraining order, police said.

Fitzgerald added that he had written out bail and would appear in court on June 10.

Authorities searched Whitlatch’s residence after the shooting and found ammunition for the 9MM pistol purchased just an hour before the shooting, as well as an AR-15 unrelated to the shooting.

Montang and Flores attended a Bible study at Cornerstone Church in Ames, where both attended Iowa State University.

It was a program that both were encouraged to participate in a program that mixed Iowa State students with high school students. 80 people attended, leading Fitzgerald to suggest the shooting could have been much worse.

People comfort each other after the shooting outside Cornerstone Church on Thursday, June 2 in Ames, Iowa

Cornerstone Church released a statement confirming the murdered women were “young members of our community” but did not provide other details about the victims or the gunman, citing the ongoing police investigation.

“Our hearts break for everyone involved, and we pray for everyone affected, especially the families of the victims,” ​​the church said in the statement. The church also planned to hold a prayer service for the victims on Friday.

The attack came during Summer Salt, a program for middle-aged college students, said Nicholas Lennie, chief deputy for the Story County Sheriff's Office.  In the photo: mourners after the attack

The attack came during Summer Salt, a program for middle-aged college students, said Nicholas Lennie, chief deputy for the Story County Sheriff’s Office. In the photo: mourners after the attack

The attack came during Summer Salt, a program for middle-aged college students, said Nicholas Lennie, chief deputy for the Story County Sheriff’s Office.

It is estimated that approximately 1,300 students meet weekly for the program. Yesterday was the first meeting of the summer.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found all three dead, Lennie said, adding that he was unable to provide an identity or reveal what the relationship between them might be.

“This appears to be an isolated incident involving one shooter,” Lennie said. Lennie told the Des Moines Register that he was “shocked” by the shooting of a member of “law enforcement.”

“We’re preparing and training hard for it, but of course when it happens it’s chaotic until you get it under control,” he told the Des Moines Register.

“I also want to take a moment to express our condolences to those involved, the victims involved, the families, the witnesses who were here at the church.”

DailyMail.com has attempted to contact the Sherriff’s Office and the Church for comment.

The church said it was “saddened” by the event in a statement on its Facebook page, in which it wrote: “Our hearts break for everyone involved and we pray for everyone affected, especially the families of the victims.

The Salt Company, which organizes the weekly program, said: “We are in deep grief. Tonight there was a tragic shooting involving two young members of our Cornerstone Church community. It is believed that an adult man shot these two victims and then committed suicide.”

The shooting took place at Cornerstone Church of Armes (pictured), near Des Moines

The shooting took place at Cornerstone Church of Armes (pictured), near Des Moines

The church said in a statement it was

The church said in a statement it was “sad and heartbroken” about the event

Vance declined to provide further details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

Churchgoers reportedly stayed on the grounds and in the church for hours after the shooting, and photos of the scene show groups of people hugging each other in tears.

In a tweet, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds described the shooting as “senseless violence.”

Tonight’s act of senseless violence claimed the lives of two innocent victims in their house of worship. Kevin and I mourn the families who have suffered an unimaginable loss.”

The shooting is the latest in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the US in recent weeks.

On May 14, an 18-year-old white supremacist, Payton Gendron, murdered 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, with an assault rifle.

On May 24, another 18-year-old gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The following holiday weekend there were at least 14 ‘mass shootings’ in the US according to the Gun Violence Archive, an institution that tracks shootings in the country.

On June 1, 45-year-old Michael Louis shot and killed four people at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He targeted a doctor whom he blamed for his chronic back pain.

In a rare evening address on Thursday, President Biden characterized American communities as “killing fields” while calling for a ban on assault weapons.

“Enough enough. It’s time for each of us to do our part,” the president said, “for the children we’ve lost. We can save for the children. For the nation we love. Let’s meet the moment. Let’s finally do something.’

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