Police are investigating after an Alabama man opened fire in a house of worship, shooting a woman, an infant, and a pastor.
The incident occurred on Sunday at the Oasis Tabernacle Church in East Selma. Suspected gunman James Junior Minter entered the church and sat in the front between his girlfriend and one-month-old son, NBC News reports.
Witnesses then claim the 26-year-old pulled out a handgun and his girlfriend fell to the ground. Minter shot the 24-year-old in the jaw and the shoulder. The infant was shot in the hand. When Pastor Earl Carswell intervened and tried to grab the gun, he was shot in the leg. Several church members then tackled the suspect and were able to disarm him.
Minter ran out of the church and was captured by police just one mile away. He is currently being held without bond. Authorities believe a recent breakup with the unidentified girlfriend and visitation with his son may have been motive behind the shooting.
He has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and could be facing more charges.
The mother and son are currently in stable condition, while Pastor Carswell was also taken to the emergency room for treatment. Lt. Curtis Muhannad of the Selma Police Department called members of the congregation heroes for their quick thinking.
“There were several heroes in there,” Lt. Muhannad said. “It takes a lot when you have someone with a firearm that’s actually firing upon a person in a closed-quarters area, and you do whatever you can with regards to your own life to protect someone else’s life.”
James Perkins, former Selma Mayor and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church minister, held a moment of silence for the victims. He also said recent attacks – most notably the Charleston AME shooting that killed nine churchgoers – have incited fear about entering a place of worship.
FOX News reports:
“It’s hard to comprehend it, it’s hard to understand it but a lot of people are struggling. A lot of people are stressed,” Perkins said. “We walk by faith, not by sight. We still have to believe that there’s goodness in most people. We’ve reached the point where all churches are gonna have to have cameras and check for weapons,” he said. “That’s the way society is going now. It’s the world we live in now.”
The Selma Police Department is expected to continue reviewing Minter’s motive.
SOURCE: NBC News | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN
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