3 Dead in Shooting at Alabama Church

3 Dead in Shooting at Alabama Church
Police barricade off the area after a shooting at the Saint Stevens Episcopal Church in Vestavia, Ala., on June 16, 2022. (Butch Dill/AP Photo)
Jack Phillips

Authorities said that an attendee at a potluck dinner in an Alabama church subdued the suspected gunman and held him down until police arrived.

Officials said a 71-year-old suspect, who has not been identified, was arrested after he allegedly fired shots Thursday inside the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Three people died, police said.

"The person that subdued him is a hero," Capt. Shane Ware said during a press conference on Friday. That individual, who was not identified, “subdued the suspect and held him down until law enforcement arrived," Ware also detailed.

Walter Rainey, 84; Sarah Yeager, 75; and an 84-year-old white woman were identified as the three victims who were fatally shot. It's not clear what relation the suspect had with the three victims, if any, and police haven't commented on a possible motive.

Police on Friday afternoon confirmed the 84-year-old unidentified woman died, releasing a statement that read, "It is with great sadness that the Vestavia Hills Police Department reports the passing of the third shooting victim from Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church."

"The family of the victim askes (sic) that we do not release her name for reasons of privacy. Our thoughts and prayers continuously go out to the victims, their families and all who are affected by this tragic event," the statement continued, according to the Shelby County Reporter newspaper.
Authorities told Alabama news outlets that the shooting occurred at a church event known as the "Boomer’s Potluck Dinner." The suspect was an occasional attendee of the event, they said. It's not clear what kind of weapon he used.
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