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A man kills three people at an Episcopal Church supper in Alabama

Posted on: June 21, 2022 6:37 PM
Church members console each other after a 71-year-old man killed three people during a June 16 evening potluck at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
Photo Credit: Butch Dill/AP

[Lynette Wilson, Episcopal News Service] Three people were killed in a shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, during a potluck supper on June 16. A 71-year-old man is in custody pending charges, according to police.

“At some point he produced a handgun and began shooting, striking three victims,” Vestavia Hills Police Captain Shane Ware said during a June 17 press conference, describing the suspect only as an “occasional attendee” of the church.

Walter Rainey, 84, of Irondale, died at the scene. Sarah Yeager, 75, of Pelham, later died at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham. The third victim, an 84-year-old woman from Hoover, died at the same hospital, police said on Friday afternoon, adding that her family had asked that her name not be released.

Another potluck attendee subdued the shooter, who acted alone, and held him down until police arrived, Ware said.

“Our hearts are broken from the horrible tragedy this evening at Saint Stephen’s,” the Rev. John Burruss, St. Stephen’s rector, wrote on June 16. “More than anything, I ask your prayers for our community, especially those who are injured and the families of the deceased.

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