Family member reacts to murder of pastor's wife and son

Published: Oct. 11, 2011 at 11:13 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2011 at 11:26 PM CDT
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The Ferguson Family
The Ferguson Family
Karen Ferguson and her sons
Karen Ferguson and her sons

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A stunned church community is coming together to help a pastor whose wife and son were killed Monday.  Orange Grove Church of Christ has set up a benefit account at all Hancock Bank branches to help the Ferguson family with funeral expenses.

Harrison County's coroner said Karen Ferguson, 45, and their son Cole, 21, both died from gunshot wounds to the head.

On Tuesday, black ribbons adorned the sign in front of Orange Grove Church of Christ. The ribbons carried the names of Karen and Cole Ferguson. Inside, family and church members gathered to mourn, to console, and to remember.

"You know, it's a shock," said Billy Ferguson. "You never really expect something, a tragedy of this sort, to happen to you."

Billy Ferguson is Pastor Les Ferguson's younger brother.  He described Karen as a compassionate person, and a loving wife and mother of four sons. She showed that mother's love Monday when a man entered the family's home on Kent Avenue in Orange Grove and shot Karen and Cole.

"All she thought about while the attack was taking place was saving her baby, and staying there to protect Cole and she did. She's just an amazing person," said Billy Ferguson.

Cole was disabled.  He was born with a brain disease.  He had been wheelchair bound for the past two years.

"Everybody in the family, Cole was our favorite," said Ferguson. "He always had a smile, loved to play practical jokes, loves to laugh, loves to come to church. He didn't allow his physical disability to define who he was."

The baby in the family, five-year-old Casey, was the one who bravely ran to a neighbor's house to get help. Ferguson says like the rest of the family, Casey is still in shock over the crime.

"He's in the mind of a five-year-old. He's thinking about it in terms of my brother's finally, now, he's not bound by a wheel chair. He's got legs and he can run and walk," said Ferguson. "He told me that he was really sad that his mother was gone. But he was really glad that she's in heaven and he looks forward to seeing her someday."

Coroner Gary Hargrove also completed an autopsy on the suspect in this shooting spree, 70-year-old Paul Buckman.  His death was ruled a suicide. According to the coroner, Buckman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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