Two people were killed and one was injured in a shooting at an Alabama church Thursday night, authorities said, adding that a suspect was in custody.
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 around 6:22 p.m. local time. Ware said there were no additional threats to the community.
“From what we have gathered from the circumstances tonight, a lone suspect entered a small group church meeting and began shooting,” Ware said at a news conference Thursday night.
Ware did not identify the shooter or say whether 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, ATF and the US Marshals Service are assisting in the investigation, Ware said.
According to the church’s website, there was a potluck scheduled between 5 and 7 p.m. Thursday. The 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 to support the victims and their loved ones.
“We are Episcopalians, we believe in Jesus and we believe that prayer helps,” Hudlow said. “We are currently praying for healing and safety for all those who have been impacted and affected.”
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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement that she was offering prayers to the victims and the community.
“I’m glad to hear the shooter is in custody,” he 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 people, is about 7 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama.
The shooting in Alabama is the latest attack carried out at a place of worship. In May, one person was killed and five others were injured in a shooting at a Southern California church that authorities described as a “politically motivated hate incident” against the Taiwanese community.
It also comes after a series of high-profile mass shootings across 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 at an elementary school; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where four people died at a medical facility.