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PALMYRA, New York, June 8, 2022 — (East Idaho News/Gephardt Daily) — Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies in New York state have responded to the site of a reported shooting incident outside the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center in Palmyra. There have been no reports of injuries.
According to the Finger Lake Times, there was “a volley of gunfire” around 5:45 p.m. at the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, but nobody was hurt.
Ontario County sheriff’s personnel said more than 22 shots were fired at the building with at least two striking the facility.
An Idaho Falls family and dozens of others visiting the center were evacuated from the Sacred Grove and nearby buildings after the shooting broke out.
Heather Schwartz was with her husband and son at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historical site around 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time when a missionary couple approached them and said they needed to leave immediately.
“Over 100 kids were in the grove on a bus church site tour. The adults kicked it in gear, and got most of those kids out in record time,” Schwartz told EastIdahoNews.com.
The area, which includes the Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah, attracts believers from around the world.
Schwartz says there was a massive police response at the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center nearby, and missionaries were working to evacuate the Palmyra Latter-day Saint Temple.
Prayers for the people at the Hill Cumorah visitors center please. Someone with a gun shot into the apartment building next door. My daughter is on her literal FIRST day in the field. 70+ visitors kneeling in prayer and all are safe. Police on scene. pic.twitter.com/jniT8KQf4J
— Nathan Miles (@nilesbay) June 8, 2022
A search for the shooter has been underway and roads in the area are closed. Neighbors have posted on social media that they are sheltering in place and have been asked not to leave their homes.
A spokesman for New York State Police confirms to EastIdyahoNews.com that troopers are on the scene but had nothing further to release.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed the incident in a press release just after 8 p.m.
“This afternoon several shots were fired at or near the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Palmyra, New York. At this hour there is little information available.”
Wednesday night, Kelly Smoot, church media relations manager, told Gephardt Daily there was still no word of injuries. “None that have been reported to us.”
According to Smoot, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police Department were handling the investigation of the incident. A press conference was planned there for later this evening, she said.
Numerous church employees and missionaries staff the church-owned Hill Cumorah grounds.
The site is the location where LDS faithful believe a teenage Joseph Smith, church founder, nearly 200 years ago encountered angels who directed him to the “Golden Plates” which revealed the text to the faith’s guiding Book of Mormon.
Smoot said the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police Department were handling the investigation of the incident. A press conference was planned there for later this evening, she said.