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Priest describes Indian Lake outburst

INDIAN LAKE - Father Philip Allen says he had just introduced the final prayer of Saturday's mass at St. Mary's Church in Indian Lake. "Let us pray," he said, and then someone in the back said, "Pray for me." Allen says he continued with the prayer and soon that person was on the altar, screaming angrily, backhanding candlesticks into the pews where the heavy bases of the holders cut two people. He says a man has a cut on his jaw and a woman a cut on her head, both requiring stitches. There were about fifty people at the service.

"He was disturbed," says Allen. He said he wasn't sure of the man's name but that he knew his mother and his family were churchgoers. State police later identified the man as 44-year-old Jason Berg of Indian Lake.

Allen says a 17-year-old altar server, fifty pounds lighter than Berg, tackled him, followed by several other people who subdued Berg. Allen says Berg was a step away from him when the teen stopped him. According to Allen, Berg struggled violently and eventually stopped moving. Someone called for an ambulance. Later, state police arrived. Allen said he would wait for an autopsy to determine what killed Berg.

Allen says he was among those who heard a sound outside the church before the outburst - a sound he said could have been a gunshot. He said Berg was found to have a pistol in his waistband. Allen says he did not have the gun out while he was in the church.

Allen said the regular mass was celebrated this morning. Indian Lake is in Hamilton County, about a twenty-minute drive west of the Gore Mountain ski resort.