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Gunman Kills 3 Seniors Over Potluck Dinner At Alabama Church

Police barricade off the area after a shooting in Vestavia, Alabama.
Police barricade off the area after a shooting in Vestavia, Alabama.

Photographer: Butch Dill/AP Photo

Updated on

Vestavia Hills, Ala. (AP) -- The 70-year-old visitor had previously attended some services at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church before police say he showed up for a potluck dinner, pulled out a handgun and fatally shot three of the elderly participants, one of whom died in his wife's arms as she whispered words of love in his ear.

Church members were spared further violence Thursday evening when one of them rushed the gunman, struck him with a chair and held him until police arrived, a former pastor said. The suspect, Robert Findlay Smith, was charged with capital murder Friday, the Jefferson County district attorney announced.