A shooting at a church in a suburb of one of Alabama's major cities left two person dead and two others wounded Thursday evening, police said, adding a suspect was taken into custody.
The shooting occurred at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills, Police Capt. Shane Ware said at a briefing. He said officers rushed to the church after dispatchers received a call reporting an active shooter at 6:22 p.m.
He said one person was dead and two others were wounded in the shooting and had been quickly hospitalized. A suspect is in custody, Ware said, but he declined to identify the person or the victims and describe how events unfolded.
“We know of no additional threat to either the community of Vestavia Hills” or surrounding areas, Ware told reporters.
The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives and other local police and fire agencies sent officials to the scene. Investigators remained hours past nightfall, with yellow police tape cordoning off the church complex and emergency vehicles with flashing lights blocking the route to the church.
The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Alabama, told broadcast outlet WBRC that the church and the community were stunned by the shooting.
“It is shocking. Saint Stephen’s is a communty built on love and prayers and grace and they are going to come together," she said in a live interview with the station. “People of all faiths are coming together to pray to hope for healing."
She added that the church was receiving supportive messages from people all over the United States and the world. "We need everybody out there. Pray, think, meditate and send love to this community because we are going to need all of it," she said.
The church’s website had listed a “Boomers Potluck” for Thursday night. “There will be no program, simply eat and have time for fellowship,” the flyer read.
News outlet al.com said the two wounded victims were being treated at UAB Hospital in Birmingham.
It was the latest in a string of deadly shootings that has rattled the nation. On Saturday thousands of people rallied in the U.S. and at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to renew a push for gun control measures after recent deadly mass shootings from Buffalo, New York, to Uvalde, Texas. Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence also have lobbied legislators and testified on Capitol Hill earlier this month.