According to authorities, two persons were killed and another was injured in a shooting during a small group church meeting in a Birmingham suburb on Thursday.
According to Capt. Shane Ware of the Vestavia Hills Police Department, a suspect has been apprehended but has not been named publicly. According to him, the surviving victim is being treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries.
According to Ware, the incident at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills occurred at 6:22 p.m. local time.
The “Boomers Potluck,” according to the church calendar, was scheduled at the same time as the shooting, but it was unclear from the media briefing whether the violence occurred there. It’s also unknown how many persons were present at the time of the shooting.
The FBI, US Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF) all sent agents to the scene, according to Ware. At any of the three media conferences on the incident, he refused to accept questions and advised anyone with additional information to call the Vestavia Hills Police Department.
The Diocese of Alabama’s missioner for clergy formation, Rev. Kelley Hudlow, told CNN affiliate WVTM that the community needs to be lifted up in prayer and togetherness to recover.
“Right now, we’re praying for healing and safety for all those who have been impacted and affected,” Hudlow said. “We also recognize that this is a devastating event for our community, not just our church, but this community here.” “What we need is for this community to do what it does best: come together to look after one another.”
According to CNN station WBRC, church members clasped hands in a circle and prayed in a nearby parking lot, with numerous people appearing saddened by what had happened.
Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama expressed her sympathy.
“I am relieved to learn that the shooter has been apprehended,” Ivey stated. “This should never happen in a church, a supermarket, a city, or anyplace else for that matter. We will continue to keep a careful eye on the situation.”
The shooting occurred in a house of worship, the latest in a national debate about firearms and their availability. At a Taiwanese church session in Southern California last month, six people were shot, one fatally.
Mass shootings at a South Texas elementary school that murdered 19 children and two teachers, as well as a racist attack on the Black community in Buffalo, New York, that killed ten people, have drawn greater political attention to gun violence in recent weeks.
Following such heinous acts, a bipartisan group of senators announced a principled agreement on gun safety legislation, which intends to address mental health resources, school safety, and gun access.