Two people were killed and another was injured during a shooting inside a church in Alabama during a potluck dinner group event on Thursday (June 16) evening.
Vestavia Hills Police confirmed the suspect, who identity was not immediately released, is in custody after firing shots inside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
“From what we’ve gathered from the circumstances of this evening, a lone suspect entered a small group church meeting and began shooting,” Vestavia Hills police Capt. Shane Ware said via NBC News.
The department said it received a call regarding an active shooter at around 6:22 p.m. and multiple law enforcement agencies and fire departments were present at the scene.
Walter Rainey, 84, of Irondale was pronounced dead at the scene and Sarah Yeager, 75, of Pelham, died at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital, police confirmed to WVTM.
An 84-year-old woman from Hoover remains hospitalized for injuries sustained in the shooting.
Kelley Hudlow, a missioner of clergy formation for the diocese, told WVTM that church leaders were still trying to learn more information about the incident.
Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley Curry issued a statement in response to the shooting via WVTM:
“With the tragic news that has broken this evening, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims of this evening’s shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. I would also like to offer thanks on behalf of myself and our Vestavia Hills residents to the first responders from all agencies who have worked tirelessly since this incident began.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also sent prayers and condolences to the victims and community following the incident.
“We want to offer our prayers for the victim’s family, the injured and the entire church community,” Ivey said via NBC News. “I am glad to hear the shooter is in custody. This should never happen — in a church, in a store, in the city or anywhere.”
Vestavia Hills is located southeast of Birmingham and has an estimated population of around 39,000.