Yesterday (June 16), a shooting left two people dead and one injured at a church in a Birmingham, Alabama suburb. Capt. Shane Ware of the Vestavia Hills Police Department said that at 6:22 p.m., gunfire erupted at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills.
According to Rev. John Burruss, parishioners were gathered to celebrate a Boomers Potluck. He shared a written statement saying, “These are the pillars of our community, and I cannot begin to fathom how painful this is for our entire church and the larger community.”
News briefings followed the shooting, but Ware did not take questions from anyone. Instead, he asked for those with information to call the Vestavia Hills Police Department. Their non-emergency number is (205) 978-0140.
The captain shared that the suspect is in custody but did not publicly identify the alleged criminal. Without going into detail, he said the surviving victim is in a hospital for their injuries.
Ware added that members of the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives arrived after the fatal shooting. Rev. Kelley Hudlow, missioner for clergy formation for the Diocese of Alabama, spoke with CNN affiliate WVTM moments after the deadly attack.
“We are praying for healing and safety for all those who have been impacted and affected, and also knowing this is a traumatic thing that has happened to our community, not just our church, but this community here,” she said. “What we need is for this community to do what it’s really good at, which is coming together to take care of each other.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey expressed her sadness and offered support to her community. “I am glad to hear the shooter is in custody,” Ivey shared. “This should never happen – in a church, in a store, in the city, or anywhere. We continue to closely monitor the situation.”
A vigil is scheduled for this morning (June 17) at St. Luke’s Episcopal, a nearby church.