A suspect, who was not identified publicly, is in custody, said Capt. Shane Ware with the Vestavia Hills Police Department. The surviving victim is being treated at a hospital for injuries, he said without detailing them.
“These are the pillars of our community, and I cannot begin to fathom how painful this is for our entire church, and the larger community,” Burruss said.
A vigil is planned Friday morning at nearby Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church.
The shooting is the latest in a US house of worship amid a national reckoning over gun violence. A deadly mass shooting last month at a Taiwanese church service in Southern California is among recent incidents drawing more political attention to the issue.
Also following mass shootings at an elementary school in Texas and a New York supermarket, a bipartisan group of senators announced an agreement in principle for gun safety legislation that aims to address mental health resources, school safety and access to firearms.
‘This should never happen’
After the Alabama church shooting, agents with the FBI, US Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives were dispatched to the scene, Ware said. He didn’t take questions at any of the three news briefings on the shooting and urged anyone with more information to contact the Vestavia Hills Police Department.
Now, the community needs to be lifted up in healing through prayer and unity, the Rev. Kelley Hudlow, missioner for clergy formation for the Diocese of Alabama, told CNN affiliate WVTM.
“We are praying for healing and safety for all those who have been impacted and affected, and also knowing this is a traumatic thing that has happened to our community, not just our church, but this community here,” Hudlow said. “What we need is for this community to do what it’s really good at, which is coming together to take of each other.”
Church members Thursday night stood in a circle, holding hands, and prayed in a nearby parking lot, with several looking upset, CNN affiliate WBRC reported.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sent her condolences.
“I am glad to hear the shooter is in custody,” Ivey said. “This should never happen — in a church, in a store, in the city, or anywhere. We continue to closely monitor the situation.”
CNN’s Michelle Watson contributed to this report.