Accused Alabama church shooter faces capital murder charges, was occasional attendee who ‘acted alone’

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The alleged gunman accused of opening fire during an Alabama church event was an occasional attendee of the congregation who is believed to have acted alone, police said Friday. 

The 71-year-old gunman, whose name was not immediately released, is expected to be charged with capital murder later in the day on Friday for allegedly shooting and killing two people: an 84-year-old man, Walter Rainey, and a 75-year-old woman, Sarah Yeager, Vestavia Hills Police Capt. Shane Ware told reporters during a Friday morning press conference. A third victim was injured.

Ware said an event attendee subdued the suspect until law enforcement arrived and arrested him. The suspect remains in the custody of law enforcement pending charges. 

ALABAMA CHURCH SHOOTING LEAVES TWO PEOPLE DEAD, ONE OTHER WOUNDED; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY

The police captain called the person who stopped the gunman a “hero.”

Police investigate after a gunman opened fire at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, leaving two people dead and one injured.

Police investigate after a gunman opened fire at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, leaving two people dead and one injured.
(Fox 6 WBRC)

“It was extremely critical in saving lives,” Ware said. “I don’t know how many people were in the meeting at the time of the event, but the person that subdued him is a hero.”

ALABAMA POLICE OFFICER KILLER AVOIDS DEATH PENALTY

Police responded just before 6:30 p.m. local time on Thursday to a report of an active shooter at the “Boomers Potluck” event at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church located on Crosshaven Drive in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Three people were wounded. 

Police have not yet released any information regarding the suspect’s motive, but were expected to release additional information later in the day on Friday. 

Two people were killed and one other injured when a gunman opened fire at a church in Alabama on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

Two people were killed and one other injured when a gunman opened fire at a church in Alabama on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
(Fox 6 WBRC)

In a statement released Thursday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wrote: “This should never happen – in a church, in a store, in the city or anywhere.”

“As we are learning about the shocking and tragic loss of a life at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia, we want to offer our prayers for the victim’s family, the injured and the entire church community,” Ivey said. “I am glad to hear the shooter is in custody.”

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Vestavia Hills is located in central Alabama and is a suburb of Birmingham. 

Fox News’s Paul Best contributed to this report. 



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