Alabama church shooting suspect charged with capital murder

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The suspected gunman accused of fatally shooting three members of an Alabama church during a potluck last month has been charged with murder.

Robert Findlay Smith, 70, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on murder charges following a June 16 shooting that left Walter “Bart” Rainey, 84, behind; Sarah Yeager, 75; and Jane Pounds, 84, dead, AL.com reported.

The charges were revealed in court files that were made public on Friday.

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr welcomed the charges but warned the legal prosecution process was “still very early,” the outlet reported.

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THIRD ALABAMA CHURCH SHOOTING VICTIM DIES AS DECLARED GUNMAN GIVEN MAIN RESOURCES COST

Robert Findlay Smith’s booking photo released by the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday, June 17, 2022.
(Jefferson County Jail via UKTN)

“We will be working closely with the families of those who died that terrible day, as well as with the Vestavia Police, as we make progress to hold Smith accountable,” Carr added.

Police said Smith started his shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church when he pulled out a gun and started shooting randomly. He was soon disturbed by another church member who rushed him and hit him with a folding chair.

The parishioner, who was in his 70s, disarmed Smith and held him until authorities arrived. The blow left Smith with a deep bruise under his eye.

ALABAMA CHURCH SHOOTING SUSPECTED MUGSHOT SHOWS BLACK EYE AFTER ‘HERO’ BEATS HIM WITH FOLDING CHAIR

At a press conference the day after the shooting, Vestavia Hills Police Capt. Shane Ware the intervening man’s actions as heroic and life-saving.

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“The person who restrained the suspect was a hero in my opinion,” the police chief said at a press conference. He also said his actions were “extremely crucial to saving lives”.

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Police captain Shane Ware tells of a deadly shooting at a church during a press conference in Vestavia Hills, Ala., on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Police captain Shane Ware tells of a deadly shooting at a church during a press conference in Vestavia Hills, Ala., on Friday, June 17, 2022.
(UKTN Photo/Jay Reeves)

Investigators have not yet determined the motive for the shooting.

Caitlin McFall of UKTN News contributed to this report.

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