CLEVELAND - One of the people Steve Stephens spoke to after the shooting on Sunday was his pastor, The Reverend R.A. Vernon of The Word Church.
Dr. Vernon told WKYC Channel 3's Russ Mitchell that he heard about the shooting just after he finished preaching his Easter sermon, and immediately called Stephens.
"I did say to him not to kill anyone else. I just begged him not to take anymore lives," Vernon recalled. "I tried my best to connect him with the Chief of Police. At that point his phone just went dead."
Vernon elected to not disclose what Stephens said to him. "I'll keep that confidential even in death, out of integrity of spirituality for who I am and the number of people who depend on me to keep confidence."
"But I did say to him...I begged him not to take anymore lives. I would have come to him wherever he was, but at that point I think things were getting panicky."
Dr. Vernon also said he's ambivalent about the way this all ended. He's sorry that another life is gone, but thankful that the closure process can begin for the families involved and the city of Cleveland.
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