Three people were hospitalized and a fourth was jailed following Sunday's shooting at a church in East Selma, Alabama. Police said James Junior Minter, 26, was charged with three counts of attempted murder after wounding his girlfriend, her 1-month-old infant and the pastor at the Oasis Tabernacle Church, the Associated Press reported.
Minter used a handgun, opening fire about 11:25 a.m. EDT during a service. “He took a seat on the bench on the front row with his family, and then he just got into it, pulled a weapon and started shooting,” Lt. Curtis Muhannad of the Selma Police Department told the Selma Times Journal.
Bullets from Minter’s handgun hit his girlfriend’s face, the baby’s hand and the pastor’s leg. The pastor, as well as other members of the congregation, pulled Minter down and got the weapon before he ran off. Officers then located and arrested him less than a mile away.
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Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson told the AP the shooting was not racially motivated. Muhannad said the shooting may have been linked to a custody battle over Minter’s girlfriend’s child.
Both the woman and baby were in stable condition Sunday afternoon, but their names had not been released, WSFA, Montgomery, reported. Minter was at the Dallas County Jail without bond. He could face up to life in prison if convicted for the shooting.
Selma is famous for being the starting point of three civil rights marches to Montgomery in the 1960s. This year, President Barack Obama visited the city to recognize the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday -- an incident on March, 7, 1965, when a group of law enforcement officers attacked voting rights activists.
Today, Selma’s violent crime rate is five times the state average, Mashable reported.