Two people were killed and two others wounded at a Christian youth missionary training center in Colorado this morning. An unidentified gunman opened fire at the Denver Youth With A Mission center, killing two missionaries-in-training. The YWAM organization has been criticized by some as a 'cult' and attacked for 'brainwashing' members and promoting anti-gay messages.
According to United Press International, an unknown shooter entered the Youth With A Mission center in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, and began shooting. Approximately 50 people were at the center at the time. Two men in their 20's were wounded and a man and woman, also in their 20's, were killed.
The gunman ran from the center after the shooting and police are currently conducting a manhunt to find him. CNN.com reports the shooter is described as a white mail approximately 20 years old, possibly wearing a dark skull cap or beanie and may have a beard or mustache. Local authorities are using search dogs to attempt to track the suspect. Reverse 911 calls were sent to residents in the area warning of them of a gunman on the loose in the area.
The Youth With A Mission center plays host to dozens of Christian youth from around the world training to be missionaries. The organization was founded in 1960 and currently has a staff of nearly 16,000 in 149 countries, according to the organization's web site.
Various web sites on the Net feature accusations against the Youth With A Mission Organization for 'brainwashing' and 'cult' behavior. One of these, RickRoss.com, hosts letters sent in by some previous members of YWAM, calling it a "corrupt organization" and "dangerous". Author Harold Bussell, in his book By Hook or by Crook: How Cults Lure Christians, claimed it took nearly seven years before he could "overcome the psychological damage caused by [YVAM's] cult-like control and spiritualization," according to ApologeticsIndex.org.
The Youth With A Mission organization may be most notable for its rumored controversial participation in the creation of the Path to 9/11 miniseries for ABC, according to ThinkProgress.org . The miniseries was promoted as being based on the government's 9/11 Commission Report. Path to 9/11 was criticized heavily in the media and among politicians for its 'inaccuracies' and negative portrayal of Bill Clinton's administration.
The Youth With A Mission organization, some of its members and its founder, Loren Cunningham, have been linked to various anti-gay organizations and leaders. Cunningham, in his book Making Jesus Lord: The Dynamic Power of Laying Down Your Rights, called the idea of gay marriage "extending moral wrongs as legal rights". A flyer posted in San Francisco earlier this year [referred to information within] RickRoss.com [and] accused Youth With A Mission of "repeated harassment" of gays, according to SFIST.com.
Police do not know at this time if the gunman might have been a previous or current member of the Youth With A Mission organization.