A church pastor and members of his congregation are being hailed as heroes after they foiled a shooter who opened fire during services on Sunday in the historical city of Selma, Alabama.
“It used to be that even the worst criminals would respect the church but those days are gone now,” said Selma District Attorney Michael Jackson.
James Minter was allegedly disgruntled over a break-up with his girlfriend and issues regarding visitation rights to his month-old son. He entered Oasis Tabernacle Church on Sunday and shot his ex-girlfriend, the baby and the church pastor when he tried to intervene.
Other churchgoers rushed Minter as he began firing the gun in an effort to disarm and apprehend him, but he was able to break free and escape.
“It takes a lot when you have someone with a firearm that’s actually firing upon a person in a closed quarters area, and you do whatever you can with regards to your own life, to protect someone else’s life, so there were several heroes in there,” said Lieutenant Curtis Muhannad of the Selma police department.
Minter was caught by police just one mile away from the church. None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries and they were treated at local hospitals. Minter is being charged with three counts of attempted murder.
The bravery of the congregation speaks to the history of unity, courage and goodwill that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged during the Civil Rights movement and when he led the march through Selma on their way to Montgomery in protest of the lack of voting rights for African Americans.