Man shot by female suspect after his baptism at Seventh-Day Adventist Church

A pastor holds Saturday worship service at the Samoa-Tokelau Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honolulu, Hawaii.(Facebook/Samoa-Tokelau Seventh-day Adventist Church)

A man was shot at a church courtyard by a female member of the congregation after his baptism Saturday.

Police identified the victim as 59-year-old Tali Talitonu, who was baptised in a mass celebration at the Samoa Tokelau Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Kalihi, Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The shooting occurred at around 1:10 p.m. Talitonu was shot in the back by suspect Violesolo Tavita, 59.

Taleni Asuega, the victim's nephew, said he heard a loud bang and saw that his uncle was shot near the second-floor classroom.

About 60 to 100 people including children were spilling out into the courtyard when the shooting occurred, he said.

Talitonu was treated by paramedics for a gunshot wound in the back and was taken to the hospital.

Church elder Tony Williams was hailed as a hero after he grabbed the shooter's gun.

"As soon as I heard the bang, I turned around and he already had her," said Sam Tauolo, a church member. "The church (service) had just ended, so everybody was coming out. Anybody could have been hit."

Police immediately arrested Tavita, who has been charged by prosecutors with second-degree attempted murder and two weapons charges. Her bail was set at $250,000.

One witness told KHON 2 that the victim and his wife were baptised during the celebration.

"At first, kind of shocking 'cause out of all places, you know, it's at church," said Sam Tapuolo. "Our love goes out to the victim and also to the person that caused this. All we can do is continue to pray for them."

In a statement, the church said it "is deeply saddened by the incident that took place on May 14."

"We are grateful that there was no loss of life and thankful for the swift action by church members and law enforcement to quickly handle the matter. The Church has resumed normal services and activities. We are praying for healing for all those involved in this incident," it said.