Bible study teacher gunned down in Escondido after prayer meeting

A Bible study teacher in Escondido, California died from a gunshot wound on her head while she was on her way home from church on Tuesday night.

(REUTERS / Mike Blake)The home rented by accused bomb maker George Djura Jakubec is surrounded by a fireproof white wall in Escondido, California December 8, 2010.

Catherine Kennedy, 55, was driving home from a prayer meeting at the Church of St. Timothy on Tuesday night when a stray bullet hit her head while she was on East Grand Avenue. Her car veered off the road as a result and crashed into a pickup truck parked in the area, The San Diego Union-Tribune details.

Barbara Allen, 48, said she heard four gunshots from her apartment and saw the Bible study teacher slouched over her steering wheel when she went out to find out what happened. She also said Kennedy was still alive when medics arrived at the scene, but died an hour later at the Palomar Hospital where she was brought to, NBC San Diego reports.

On Wednesday night, dozens of people gathered at the Church of St. Timothy to attend a prayer service for Kennedy. The victim's sister Debora Ware said her faith was "everything to her."

"She was in a prayer group on Tuesday," said Ware.

On Wednesday, Escondido police Chief Craig Carter warned gangsters in the area that authorities will do their best to deal with them. He also described Kennedy's death as a "senseless tragedy," adding that this may have been the first time that an innocent civilian was killed in such a shooting in Escondido.

"We are altering our resources to address this," said Officer Carter, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "If you are a gangster in the city of Escondido and you're contacted (by police) we're going to use the furthest extent of the law to make sure we deal with you."

As of now, police have not yet identified the suspects in the shooting. Escondido police have also called on the public to relay to them any useful information connected with the incident.