COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - The Forest Acres Police Department is on the hunt for a gunman who shot a parishioner early Sunday morning after an attempted robbery.
At approximately 6:15 a.m., the gunman entered Centro Cristiano De Columbia Church in Columbia, South Carolina. The suspect demanded money and fired two shots into the air with a small silver semi-automatic pistol before turning his gun on 23-year-old Esvin Perez.
Perez was shot in the torso, and he was taken to a local hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound, according to the Forest Acres Police Department. He was immediately taken into surgery, and he is listed in critical but stable condition.
The police have not yet determined why the gunman shot Perez.
"It was only like minute and a half, but it seemed like eternity for us," Pastor Henry Alfaro told CNN affiliate WACH.
"If this had happened during church service in the evening where families and children are present? It would have been a massacre."
The suspect was described as a tall, slim, black male. He was wearing a black striped shirt with black pants, a bandana partially covering his lower face and a beanie.
The suspect was last seen fleeing in a dark colored Toyota Prius.
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