[Square & Compasses]

Man killed at Masonic initiation ceremony

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 Posted: 10:50 AM EST (1550 GMT)

PATCHOGUE, New York (AP) -- A man was fatally shot at a Masonic temple during what police said was an initiation ceremony.

William James, 47, of Medford, was participating in an induction Monday night at the Southside Masonic Lodge when another member pulled out a real gun instead of a fake and shot him, Suffolk County police said. James suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Albert Eid, 76, of Patchogue, was arrested and faced an arraignment Tuesday, said Officer Al Prim, a Suffolk County Police spokesman.

No further details were immediately available, Prim said.

In a statement early Tuesday, Carl Fitje, grand master of the New York State Freemasons, said there had been no formal Masonic ceremonies scheduled for Monday night. He said guns did not play a role in any officially sanctioned lodge ceremonies.

"We are fully cooperating with all of the appropriate law enforcement officials," the statement said.

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