Suspect indicted on capital murder charges in Alabama church shooting
Birmingham, Alabama - A 70-year-old man accused of gunning down three people during a potluck dinner at an Alabama church has been indicted on capital-murder charges.
Some 25 people were gathered together for the "Boomers Potluck" held on June 16 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, a wealthy suburb of Birmingham.
Among the attendees was Robert Findlay Smith, who had participated in several services at the house of worship and at least one previous potluck dinner.
The Rev. Doug Carpenter, who founded the church in 1973 and retired in 2005, told AL.com Smith was sitting alone that evening and that a longtime parishioner approached and invited him to join another table.
The 70-year-old refused, pulled out a handgun and fired off several rounds until another attendee hit him with a chair and wrestled the firearm from his hands, according to authorities.
Three people were struck in the gunfire, including 84-year-old Walter "Bart" Rainey, who was pronounced dead on the scene. The other two victims, 75-year-old Sarah Yeager and 84-year-old Jane Pounds, were rushed to a hospital, where they later succumbed to their wounds.
Smith indicted in connection with shooting
A Jefferson County grand jury earlier this week indicted Smith in connection with the shooting, according to court records made public Friday.
"It is still very early in the prosecution of this case," District Attorney Danny Carr told the news outlet.
"We will be working closely with the families of those who lost their lives that terrible day, as well as the Vestavia Police Department, as we progress toward holding Smith accountable."
Cover photo: 123Rf/olegdudko