A third person has died after an elderly gunman opened fire Thursday evening at an Alabama church.
Robert Findlay Smith fatally shot three people during a gathering at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the east Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills, police said. He was charged Friday with three counts of capital murder.
Walter Rainey, 84; Sarah Yeager, 75; and an 84-year-old woman were killed in the shooting. The 84-year-old woman died at a local hospital on Friday, according to police. Her family asked for her identity to be withheld.
Police said the shooter was participating in a “Boomers Potluck” event at the church when he pulled out a concealed gun and shot three other attendees. Another person at the potluck took down the shooter and held him until cops arrived.
“It was extremely critical in saving lives,” officer Shane Ware said at a press conference. “The person that subdued the suspect, in my opinion, was a hero.”
Police did not publicly speculate on a motive for the shooting. They said the gunman was an occasional parishioner of the church.
“Our hearts are broken from the horrible tragedy this evening at Saint Stephen’s,” the church’s leader, the Rev. John Burruss, said in a statement. “More than anything, I ask your prayers for our community, especially those who are injured and the families of the deceased. These are the pillars of our community, and I cannot begin to fathom how painful this is for our entire church, and the larger community.”