Congregation remembers former pastor, daughter involved in murder-suicide

Claire Randall (right) seen in a 2008 file photo from The Providence Journal.

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) – Dozens gathered Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Bristol for a service of remembrance for their former pastor, Daniel Randall, and his daughter, Claire.

State Police in Maine say Randall shot and killed his daughter in their Hebron, Maine home on Thursday before turning the gun on himself.

On Sunday, members of the congregation grieved the loss of their beloved former pastor and his daughter, while grappling with the horrific circumstances surrounding their deaths. Randall was a pastor at the church for 12 years and also worked as an affiliated chaplain at nearby Roger Williams University.

At Sunday’s service, the Rev. Dr. George Peters, who took over at First Congregational following Randall’s resignation in January 2015, said Randall had clearly become “unmoored from the foundation of his faith.” Peters said he was brokenhearted, but urged the congregation to stay strong during this trying time.

Members of the congregation were invited to share their memories of the Randall family, and many did so tearfully, remembering Claire Randall’s gift for music and her beautiful singing voice. They also recalled Daniel Randall’s inspirational leadership from the pulpit and his passion for the East Bay Food Pantry, which he helped to found.

On Thursday, just months after he and his family moved to Maine, police said Randall left an alcohol treatment facility, bought a shotgun, and went to his family’s home. Once there, police said he shot his daughter multiple times, spray-painted messages on the walls of the home and then fatally shot himself. Police said he had been served with divorce papers earlier in the week.

Randall is survived by his second wife, Anita, his adult daughter Molly, and his teenage son, Gabe.