Even with hope, dealing with the shooting of Mary-Marguerite Kohn was filled with grief, friends and Episcopal church members said.
“She brought so much joy and life to our department … it’s hard to see someone with such gifts to be taken away so needlessly,” said Sharon Cheston, who was Kohn’s advisor at Loyola University. Kohn received a PHD in pastoral counseling from Loyola in 2009.
Cheston said Kohn’s family is gathering and that Kohn has been “annointed,” an Episcopalian ritual similar to Catholicism’s “last rites,” performed when a person is dying, or gravely ill, according to About.com, a New York Times Company website.
“It's hard even if you have a lot of support and a lot of love and a lot of faith,” Cheston said. “It's still grief."
Kohn, 62, and 59-year-old Brenda Brewington were both shot Thursday night in an office at St. Peter’s Church. Brewington was dead when officials arrived and Kohn was taken to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma unit in “very serious condition,” according to police. Kohn serves as co-rector at St. Peter's.
Police later found a man in a nearby wooded area, dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was identified Friday afternoon as Douglas Franklin Jones, 56. According to police, Jones lived on a campsite in the woods and had been involved in a dispute with the church’s food bank.
At St. Peter’s, officials declined to speak to the media.
St. Peter’s also offers preschool classes for children 2-4. “Those parents and grandparents who have young kids attending the pre-school, housed in St. Peter's, were doubly shocked by this tragic occurrence,” said Kay Weeks, who has a granddaughter at the school.
Kohn, herself, had no children and was not married. She served as an affiliate faculty member at Loyola, according to Cheston. “She loved her job at the church and believed that the integration of strong clinical skills and spirituality was critical to healing,” Chester added. “She never mentioned being afraid or feeling like she was in danger.”
Loyola University Maryland Spokesperson Courtney Jolley said simply: "The Loyola University Maryland community's thoughts and prayers are with Mary Marguerite and her loved ones for her safe recovery."
According to Cheston, Loyola's Department of Pastoral Counseling is no stranger to tragedy.
“This is hitting us so hard,” she said, because the department has dealt with “almost a death a year for the last four years.” A faculty member was killed with her daughter when a tree fell on a car and two faculty members died of cancer, she said.
An email was sent to members of an Arbutus Library book club, of which Kohn was a member, to inform the other members of Kohn’s condition. It read: “This is just such a shock that there is nothing left to say.”
Cheston said she and others are just getting by minute by minute. “Is there hope?” she asked. “We always think of hope. We always believe there’s hope in the world.”
With reporting by Patch.com editors Andrew Metcalf and Bruce Goldfarb