TOP STORIES Two killed in Alabama church shooting

Two killed in Alabama church shooting

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Church members console each other after the shooting at St. Stevens Episcopal Church on Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Westavia, Alabama.

Butch Dill/AP


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Butch Dill/AP

Church members console each other after the shooting at St. Stevens Episcopal Church on Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Westavia, Alabama.

Butch Dill/AP

WESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama. On Thursday evening, a lone suspect opened fire on a small group of people gathered in a suburban church near an Alabama major city, fatally wounding two people and injuring a third, before being taken into custody, authorities said.

According to police captain Shane Ware, the attack took place at St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the Vestavia Hills suburb of Birmingham. He said officers rushed to the church after dispatchers received word of a shooting at the church at 6:22 p.m.

“From what we have learned from the circumstances of this evening, a lone suspect entered a meeting of a small church group and started shooting. Three people were shot dead. Two people died. One person is being treated for an unknown injury at a local hospital. ” Ware said at a briefing late Thursday night.

He added that the suspect was in custody and that “there is no threat to society at this time.”

At an earlier briefing, he initially said that one person had died and two were hospitalized in the shooting.

Meanwhile, he declined to name the suspect or victims or provide more information about the attack, saying his next briefing would be on Friday.

The FBI, the US Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives sent agents to the scene. Investigators remained for several hours after dark, yellow police tape cordoned off the church compound, and police emergency services and fire engines with flashing lights blocked the path to the church. People crowded around and prayed.

Rev. Kelly Hadlow, clergyman of the Diocese of Alabama Episcopal Church, told WBRC that the church and the public were stunned by the shooting.

“It’s shocking. St. Stephen’s community is built on love, prayers and grace, and they are going to unite, ”she said in a live interview with the TV channel. “People of all faiths come together to pray and hope for healing.”

She added that the church is receiving messages of support from across the US and around the world. “We need everyone. Pray, think, meditate and send love to this community because we will need it all,” she said.

The church’s website on Thursday night listed “Healthy Food for Boomers.” “There will be no program, just eat and find time to socialize,” the flyer said.

News outlet al.com reported that two of the wounded were taken to the UAB hospital in Birmingham before police said one of them had died.

It was the latest in a string of deadly shootings that rocked the country. On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in the US and at the National Mall in Washington, DC, to renew calls for stricter gun control measures following recent massacres with fatalities from Buffalo, New York, to Uvalde, Texas. Survivors of mass shootings and other gun incidents also lobbied lawmakers and testified on Capitol Hill this month.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement deploring what she called the shocking and tragic loss of life at the church. Although she said she was glad to hear that the suspect was in custody, she added: “This should never happen – in a church, in a store, in the city or anywhere else.”

The Vestavia Hills is a residential area southeast of Birmingham, one of Alabama’s two most populous cities.

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