Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family, friends pray as pastor's daughter, shot at church, remains critical

ST. PETERSBURG — As a pastor's 20-year-old daughter continues treatment after what appears to be a freak shooting accident at her church, friends and family and hundreds of strangers have been holding a passionate online vigil for her recovery.

Hannah Kelley was shot in the head Sunday after her boyfriend, 20-year-old Dustin Bueller, and 48-year-old Moises Zambrana were looking at Zambrana's gun in a church closet, deputies said. It happened after the morning's services, and Zambrana removed the Ruger 9mm's magazine as he was explaining the gun's safety features. He forgot about the bullet in the chamber, and somehow the gun went off, shooting through a wall and hitting Kelley, authorities said.

Kelley underwent brain surgery at Bayfront Medical Center on Sunday and is still in "critical stages," said the family's spokesman, attorney David Gibbs of Christian Law Group.

"However, every day is tremendously hopeful," Gibbs said. "Obviously, the first 24 to 48 hours are very scary. But the doctors have been able to keep the brain swelling down with medicine and Hannah's been getting excellent trauma care from the staff at Bayfront."

Gibbs said that while the Pinellas County sheriff's investigators have gotten involved in the case, the family does not wish to see Zambrana, who has a concealed weapons permit, face any legal repercussions.

"Moises was a friend of Hannah's and has been in the church a long time and is a good guy," Gibbs said. "The family has said we have no desire to see him suffer any more than he's already suffering."

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said it appeared to be a "tragic accident," and no criminal charges have been filed.

The family requested that Bayfront Medical Center release no updates on Kelley's condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman. On Tuesday, a family friend posted on a Facebook group page called "Prayers for Hannah Grace Kelley," saying Bueller told her that the "doctor is pleased once again that she made it through the night, but we still need to see the swelling go down."

More than 2,000 people had joined the group page by Tuesday and were posting prayers and concern for Kelley.

Kelley's father, Tim Kelley, is the pastor of Grace Connection Church in Lealman, where the incident occurred.

A special prayer service for Hannah Kelley will take the place of a regular midweek service at 7 p.m. today at the church, which is at 4017 56th Ave N. The service will be open to the public.

Emily Nipps can be reached at or (727) 893-8452.

Family, friends pray as pastor's daughter, shot at church, remains critical 02/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table


    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers


    Walk 6.2 kilometers


    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.