A shooting raged at a small church event in a Birmingham suburb in Alabama on Thursday, killing two people and injuring one, according to authorities. It was the latest gun attack to occur while Americans went about their regular lives.
According to Capt. Shane Ware of the Vestavia Hills Police Department, a person has been arrested but has not been named publicly. He said the surviving victim was being treated in hospital for injuries but did not elaborate.
According to the Rev. John Burruss, the attack on three parishioners at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills occurred at an event known as Boomers Potluck. It was reported at 6:22 p.m., according to Ware.
“These are our society’s pillars, and I can’t imagine how devastating this is for our entire church and the larger community,” Burruss added. A vigil will be held at neighboring Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church on Friday morning.
The attack is the latest in a series of attacks on places of worship in the United States, which has sparked a national conversation about gun violence. A tragic mass shooting at a Taiwanese church service in Southern California last month is one of the latest occurrences bringing the matter to the attention of politicians.
After the shooting incidents at a Texas elementary school and a New York supermarket, a bipartisan group of senators announced a deal in principle on gun safety legislation that will target mental health support, school safety, and gun availability.
The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama’s Rev. Kelley Hudlow told reporters, “This occurs in other locations as well. You simply do not believe it will occur in the Birmingham region. As a result, it’s shocking. But one thing we do know is that St Stephen’s as a church is a community built on compassion, devotion, and grace, and they will come together.”
“We’re linked to a worldwide network of churches,” she explained, “and so we’re getting messages from individuals praying for this town from all over the United States and around the world today.”
“It should never happen — in a church, in a shop, in the city, or anywhere,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement, adding, “It should never happen — in a church, in a store, in the city, or anywhere.”
Several federal and local organizations were involved in the inquiry, including the FBI, US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives.
Agents from the FBI, US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives were rushed to the Alabama church shooting, according to Ware. At any of the three news briefings on the incident, he refused to take questions and advised anyone with more knowledge to call the Vestavia Hills Police Department.
The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, the missioner for clergy formation for the Diocese of Alabama, told CNN affiliate WVTM that the community now needs to be raised up in prayer and solidarity in order to heal.
As per Ware, agents from the FBI, US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives responded to the Alabama church massacre. He declined to accept questions at any of the three news conferences on the event and recommended anyone with more information contact the Vestavia Hills Police Department.
According to CNN station WVTM, the Rev. Kelley Hudlow, missioner for clergy formation for the Diocese of Alabama, the society now needs to be lifted up in prayer and cooperation in order to heal.
Vestavia Hills, an affluent suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, is situated about 7 miles south of the city.
The shooting in Alabama is the latest attack on a house of worship. In a Southern California church shooting in May, one person was killed and five others were wounded in what officials described as a “politically driven hate attack” targeting the Taiwanese community.
After shooting and killing two people at an Ames, Iowa, church in early June, a man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
There have been 231 mass shootings this year, as per The Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks gun violence in the United States.
It also occurs after a string of high-profile mass shootings across the country in recent weeks, including 10 Black people killed in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York; 19 children and two teachers died in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; and four people killed in a medical facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Are Mass Shootings Getting Deadlier?
Deaths from “gun violence” that garner international notice, on the other hand, are harder to track.
While there are no national criteria for “shooting incidents,” the FBI has been tracking “armed gunman occurrences” for over a decade, which are defined as “an individual actively engaged in murdering or tries to murder individuals in a populated location.”
Between 2000 and 2020, the FBI reported 345 “active shooter situations” in the United States, resulting in 1,024 deaths and 1,828 injuries.
The deadliest such assault occurred in Las Vegas in 2017, when more than 50 people were killed and 500 others were injured. The vast majority of gun violence, on the other hand, results in the deaths of less than 30 individuals.
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