Robert Findlay Smith has been identified as the suspected gunman who allegedly killed three retirees at an Alabama church before being pinned down by what police called a “hero.”
A hero held down a 70-year-old gunman who killed three retirees while he was attending a potluck dinner at an Alabama church, sources say.
Robert Findlay Smith has been identified as the suspected gunman and is being held in custody following the attack on St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills on Thursday.
Walter Rainey, 84, died at the scene, while Sarah Yeager, 75, and another 84-year-old woman, whose family did not want her identified, both later died in hospital.
The shooter was described as an “occasional” visitor to the church, and Police Captain Shane Ware said that “the person who I think took the suspect down is a hero”.
He stated that the person’s actions were “extremely critical to saving lives.”
District Attorney Danny Carr identified the suspect as Robert Findlay Smith and he is being held without bail for the murders of two or more people.
Captain Ware said at a news conference that police and firefighters were called to the church after receiving reports of an active gunman around 6:22 p.m.
“The church hosted a small group gathering called the Boomer Potluck Dinner. Our ongoing investigation has determined that there was an occasional visitor to the church,” he said.
He added that Smith was at dinner and “at one point pulled out a pistol and started shooting, hitting three victims.”
The police chief said the investigation was ongoing.
“The suspect added there was no threat to the community, investigators from the Vestavia Police Department and numerous other agencies are still actively investigating the case and remain on site at the Episcopal Church,” he said.
The church’s pastor, Rev. John Burruss, who, according to Facebook information, is said to have been on a pilgrimage to Greece, has asked for prayers.
“More than anything, I ask for your prayers for our community, especially for those who are injured and the families of those who have died. These are the pillars of our community and I cannot begin to fathom how painful this is for our entire church and larger community,” he wrote.
It’s the latest shooting incident in the United States, where debate is raging over the availability of guns to the public.
Just a few weeks ago, 19 children and two teachers were killed at a school in Uvalde, Texas, shocking the country.
This is now another who attended a church, and Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/gunman-70-held-down-hero-27267123 The 70-year-old gunman was held down by a "hero" after he "killed three pensioners" at church dinner