Outside of Ames' Cornerstone Church, a man shot and killed two church members before killing himself, according to the sheriff.

According to police and church authorities, a man shot and murdered two female victims in a parking lot outside Ames' Cornerstone Church Thursday night, then killed himself.

"We are profoundly saddened," said Mark Vance of Cornerstone Church's Salt Company youth ministry in a statement.

"A horrific shooting involving two young members of our Cornerstone Church community occurred tonight. An adult guy is thought to have shot these two victims before killing himself."

Story County Sheriff Capt. Nicholas Lennie said the alleged shooter appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The female victims' ages were not immediately revealed.

At 6:51 p.m., Lennie claimed, many 911 calls came in during a religious presentation. The Salt Company has a regular Thursday evening event at the chapel.

Officials say the shooting occurred in the church's parking lot while others were inside. There were still individuals inside the chapel and in the parking lot several hours later.

According to Vance's statement, he is unable to provide any information about what happened due to the current investigation.

"We can state, however, that the events that occurred have left us more than saddened. Our hearts grieve for everyone involved, and we are praying for everyone who has been impacted, especially the victims' families.

Our Ministry's personnel is available to assist all people affected, and we will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as their investigation continues "According to the statement.

On Thursday, law enforcement officials remained tight-lipped regarding the weapon used in the shooting. There was no ongoing threat to the public, according to Lennie.

"As a cop, I wouldn't say I'm surprised," Lennie added. "We put in a lot of time and effort to prepare for this, but once it happens, it's obviously chaotic until you have everything under control."