8-28-06 - As America remembers Katrina, folks in Fannin County recall another tragedy that occured one year ago when a gunman killed four people and then himself in a bizarre murder spree. One year later, First News revisited the story and spoke with one of the victim's relatives and a witness to the killings.
On August 28, 2005, Fred Cranshaw opened fire as services were letting out at the Sash Assembly Of God Church. Pastor James Armstrong and Deacon Ernest Brown were killed. Then Cranshaw drove a mile up the road, where two women were sitting at a stop sign. Cranshaw turned his gun on Ceri Litterio and Holly Brown before shooting himself.
Just a week after the shootings, the doors to the Sash Assembly Of God Church re-opened and services have continued like clockwork. It is something that many people in the small community are proud of, a sign that they are honoring the memory of Pastor James Armstrong and Deacon Ernest Brown.
Diane Armstrong hid under her trailer in the moments after Fred Cranshaw shot her husband and Deacon Brown as they left church. Today, she stood with us just a few feet from that spot and still she says she is thankful.
The church still does not have a new pastor. Church leaders say it was just too soon to start looking. For now, visiting preachers and church leaders continue to lead worship services.