VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (AP) — A shooting at a church in a suburb of one of Alabama's major cities left one person dead and two others wounded Thursday evening, police said, adding a suspect was taken into custody.
The shooting occurred at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills, Vestavia Hills Police Capt. Shane Ware said at a briefing. He said multiple law enforcement officers rushed to the site after dispatchers received a call of an active shooter at 6:22 p.m.
He said one person was dead and two others were wounded in the shooting and had been hospitalized. A suspect was in custody, but Ware declined to identify the person or the victims or describe how events unfolded.
“We know of no additional threat to either the community of Vestavia Hills” or neighboring areas, Ware told reporters.
Agents of numerous law agencies were on the site, including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives and other local police and fire agencies. Investigators remained hours past nightfall, with yellow police tape cordoning the site and emergency vehicles with flashing lights blocking the route to the church.
The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Alabama, told broadcast outlet WBRC that the church and the community were stunned by the shooting.
“It is shocking. Saint Stephen’s is a communty built on love and prayers," she said in a live interview with the TV station. “People of all faiths are coming together to pray for healing ... for those in the hospital."
She added that the church was receiving messages from all over the United States and the world from people who are “praying for us tonight. We need everyobody out there. Pray, think, meditate and send love to this community because we are going to need all of it."
The church’s website had listed a “Boomers Potluck” for Thursday night. “There will be no program, simply eat and have time for fellowship,” the flyer read.
News outlet al.com said the two wounded victims were being treated at UAB Hospital in Birmingham.