An Oregon man, believed to be a follower of Harold Camping and in jail for allegedly shooting a co-worker last week, wanted to punish the victim for mocking the California preacher’s rapture prophecy, emerging developments suggest.
A 39-year-old man from west Eugene, Dale O’Callaghan, shot his co-worker, 33-year-old Jerry Andrews, in the shoulder June 24, calling him “one of those Satanic” people, according to a sworn affidavit filed in Lane County Circuit Court by Eugene Police Detective Ben Hall.
O’Callaghan and Andrews, co-workers at LHM Hydraulics for several years, had argued occasionally over Harold Camping’s prediction that the rapture would cause the end of the world beginning May 21, which turned out to be false, The Register-Guard quoted the victim’s mother, Robin O’Brien, as saying Tuesday.
The suspect, who had no adult criminal record until then, had been teased at work about his apparent belief in the rapture predicted by Camping, who spent millions of dollars on over 5,000 billboards and 20 recreational vehicles carrying the Judgment Day message.
O’Callaghan “expected to be taken up in the rapture, and it didn’t happen … He’d been getting some ribbing from the guys in the shop, and I guess he simmered over that,” O’Brien was quoted as saying. She added that her son did not want to speak with journalists.
While the two were not on bad terms, the suspect took it personally when the victim and other co-workers teased him in recent weeks over his belief in Camping’s prediction that Jesus Christ was to return to Earth May 21, the victim’s mother added.
However, the suspect’s father, Ronald O’Callaghan, said his son was not a believer in Harold Camping.
Investigators said the accused used a .357-caliber revolver to shoot Andrews once in the shoulder area as they first saw each other at work on the morning of June 24. O’Callaghan is in the Lane County Jail facing a felony charge of first-degree assault.
The bullet traveled across Andrews’ upper back and became lodged behind his left shoulder and “just missed paralyzing him,” his mother said, adding that he suffered a fractured shoulder and a fractured vertebra. Andrews is being given an outpatient treatment.
LHM Hydraulics, where the two work, is owned by the suspect’s parents.
The suspect insisted on having a lawyer at the time of police interrogation, but when he was taken to Circuit Court Monday he said he didn’t want representation by an attorney. However, after Judge Charles Zennaché explained that the mandatory minimum sentence for the crime was seven and a half years in prison, he finally agreed.
O’Callaghan is apparently one of the hundreds of people who actually believed Camping’s prediction would come true. Some of his followers sold their homes, left their jobs or donated their life savings in anticipation of the rapture of 200 million Christians to heaven.
Camping, 89, who has been preaching what he believes to be God’s word in the Bible through Family Radio for over 50 years, still insists that his prophesy was not false and that it was just off by five months. Camping and his believers are now preparing for the rapture on October 21.