A Selma man has been taken into custody on three counts of attempted murder after he opened fire and shot his girlfriend, their newborn baby and a clergyman at a church in Alabama.
James Junior Minter was arrested after he shot three people at the Oasis Tabernacle Church in East Selma Sunday morning, Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said. Jackson further added that the shooting arose from a domestic situation, as reported by Boston Herald. The shooting occurred while the church service was going on, at around 10:25 a.m., Lt. Curtis Muhannad with the Selma Police Department said.
In a statement released by the Selma Police Department, witnesses said that Minter entered the church and sat between his girlfriend and the baby, pulled out a handgun and opened fire. Minter struck his girlfriend, who had fallen on the ground, in the jaw and the shoulder. The baby was struck in the hand. “[Minter] 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,” Muhannad said. The pastor was also shot, but was able to grab Minter. Other church members attending the service were able to restrain Minter and take the weapon from him. Although Minter managed to escape the scene, he was captured by the Selma Police Department less than a mile from the church.
According to Selma Times Journal, Minter’s girlfriend and their baby were transported to a Birmingham hospital for treatment, Jackson said. As of Sunday afternoon, both of them were in stable condition. However, their names have not revealed as of yet. Minter, on the other hand, is being kept at the Dallas County Jail without bond; if convicted, he can face up to life in prison.
Former Selma Mayor and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church minister James Perkins visited the church Sunday. “It’s hard to comprehend it,” Perkins said. “It’s hard to understand it but a lot of people are struggling. A lot of people are stressed. We walk by faith, not by sight. We still have to believe that there’s goodness in most people.”
Selma was where three civil rights marches to Montgomery instigated in the 1960s. This year marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, an incident that occurred on March 7, 1965, wherein a group of law enforcement officers clashed with voting rights activists. As reported by Mashable, Selma’s violent crime rate today is five times the state average.