Two people were killed and one was injured after a person opened fire at an Alabama church Thursday evening, authorities said.
Vestavia Hills Police Capt. Shane Ware said officers responded to reports of an active shooter at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, at about 6:22 pm local time. Ware added that a suspect is in custody and that there were no additional threats to the community.
“From what we’ve gathered from the circumstances of this evening, a lone suspect entered a small group church meeting and began shooting,” Ware said at a news briefing late Thursday.
Ware did not identify the shooter or say if investigators had determined a motive.
The person injured in the shooting was being treated at a local hospital, Ware confirmed. The identities of the victims or the condition of the injured person were not immediately available.
The FBI, the US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco are aiding in the investigation, Ware later said.
According to the church’s website, there was a potluck scheduled between 5 and 7 pm Thursday. Rev. Kelley Hudlow, who works in the office of Bishop Glenda Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, told local station WVTM-13 that they are asking the community to come together in support of the victims and their loved ones.
“We’re Episcopalians; we believe in Jesus and we believe that prayer helps,” Hudlow said. “Currently we are praying for healing and safety for all those who have been impacted and affected.”
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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement she was offering prayers to the victims and the community.
“I am glad to hear the shooter is in custody,” she said. “This should never happen — in a church, in a store, in the city or anywhere. We continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Vestavia Hills, an affluent suburb of about 40,000 residents, is about 7 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama.
The Alabama shooting is the latest attack carried out at a place of worship. In May, one person was killed and five others were injured in a Southern California church shooting that authorities described as a “politically motivated hate incident” against the Taiwanese community.
It also comes after a spate of high-profile mass shootings throughout the country in recent weeks, including in Buffalo, New York, where 10 Black people were killed in a grocery store; Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in an elementary school; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where four people were killed in a medical facility.