Father of Ames shooting victim Eden Montang says 'good gun laws' shouldn't take away freedoms
The father of one of the two victims killed last week in a shooting outside an Ames church said in a statement that while he and his late daughter agreed that there should be some gun laws, balance is required.
Story County sheriff's officials say Johnathan Lee Whitlatch, 33, shot and killed Eden Montang, 22, and Vivian Renee Flores, 21 of West Des Moines, with a 9 mm pistol outside Cornerstone Church in Ames Thursday, before killing himself.
Montang and Whitlatch, both of Boone, served in the same Iowa National Guard unit and had been in a romantic relationship that recently ended, officials said. Whitlatch was arrested two days before the shooting for allegedly harassing Montang. He was released after posting bond.
Montang's father, Terry Montang, said at a June 3 prayer service at Cornerstone, "What I want everyone to know is that she walked the walk. She died for her faith. I’m proud to have been her father. I'm not sure what more there is to say than she is with the Lord."
Terry Montang, who is also a retired Army master sergeant, added in a written statement Monday, "Eden was many things to so many people that I cannot begin to name them all. She loved to help people when she could, but her greatest love was for her Lord Jesus, and that (was) followed by her love for family and friends."
Eden Montang's father: 'A gun is just a tool; like a hammer or a drill'
Terry Montang said Eden and his "great love for the Lord" led him to write the statement.
He wrote that his late daughter and he "believe in some gun laws," but "the problem is how to get good gun laws passed without taking any freedoms away or having politicians tack other things onto the bill that are not related."
"As a country, we are headed for a train wreck and if we don’t turn towards the Lord and put God back into our nation in all areas, there will be no way to stop the violence and devastation from happening," Montang said.
"Eden died for what she believed and if given the choice, I believe she would again. Eden wasn’t an overly political person, but she believed in our country and was willing to die for our freedoms. With that being said, a gun is just a tool; like a hammer or a drill. Guns are not bad or evil. Satan is and man’s sin is," Montang said.
"We mourn the loss of our daughter deeply and grieve with other families that have suffered a similar tragic loss," Montang added.
A celebration of life for Eden Montang is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Cornerstone Church.
Flores' obituary says her service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the church.
Montang and Flores, both Iowa State University students, were at the church on Thursday for a service with The Salt Company, the church's university ministry.
Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.