COUDERSPORT, P.A. (WIVB) - A music teacher was gunned down in a church, in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Darlene Sitler was teaching students pre-K through sixth grade, they were currently preparing for their annual Christmas concert.
The 53 year old also played the organ for her church, and that's where police say her ex-husband came and was relentless in getting to her.
For 30 years, Darlene Sitler influenced hundreds of students through music at Northern Potter School in Coudersport.
"She was just a dynamic teacher who would always go above and beyond for her kids," said Superintendent Scott Graham.
Sitler didn't have any kids of her own, Graham says the students were her kids. She also graced the congregation at First United Presbyterian Church with her talents, she was playing the organ Sunday morning when police say her ex-husband 52-year-old Greg Eldred came after her.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Mike Knight says, "Basically he entered the church, located her, fatally shot her and then eventually, was subdued by some parishioners."
Troopers say Eldred came in the back of church behind the choir and shot Sitler, and he left. Then he allegedly came back to a side door of the church, demanding to see her again.
Troopers say he told church members "I want to finish this."
Members tried to stop him, but he threatened to shoot them as well. According to troopers, Eldred then went back to the organ pit and shot Sitler again, she was still believed to be alive at that time.
"There was a tussle and the suspect was controlled until Penn State Police arrived at the church and placed him into custody," said Knight.
While members were wrestling Eldred, more shots were fired but no one else was hurt. Sitler died at the church.
Graham said, "It's devastating to just think about what happened to her and what all those poor people must of gone through experience it's just it's just very sad and i can't imagine what that must of been like."
The motive is still unclear. Graham didn't know how long the two had been divorced, but says she was a private person and he didn't know of any problems she may have been having with her ex-husband.
The school will have counselors on hand Monday. Eldred was a music teacher at the Coudersport School District. He is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, simple assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats. He is scheduled to return to court on December 12th.
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