Two dead in Alabama church shooting

·2-min read

A lone suspect has fired on a small group meeting at an Alabama church, fatally wounding two people and injuring a third before being taken into custody.

The attack occurred at St Stephen's Episcopal Church in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills on Thursday evening.

Police Captain Shane Ware said officers rushed to the church after dispatchers received a call at 622pm.

"From what we've gathered from the circumstances of this evening, a lone suspect entered a small church group meeting and began shooting. Three people were shot. Two people are deceased. One person is being treated for an unknown injury at a local hospital," Ware told reporters.

He said a suspect was in custody. Ware declined to identify the suspect or the victims or provide further details of the attack, saying his next briefing would be on Friday.

The FBI, US Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives dispatched agents to the scene. Nearby, people huddled and prayed.

The Reverend 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. St Stephen's is a community built on love and prayers and grace and they are going to come together," she said.

"People of all faiths are coming together to pray to hope for healing."

It was the latest in a string of deadly shootings that has rattled the United States.

Among them were the racist attack last month that killed 10 black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, and the shooting deaths May 24 of 19 children and two adults at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school in which the gunman was killed.

Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence have lobbied legislators and testified on Capitol Hill this month.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey lamented what she called the shocking and tragic loss of life.

"This should never happen - in a church, in a store, in the city or anywhere," she said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting