Authorities have arrested a former maintenance man at Creflo Dollar‘s mega-church who allegedly strolled in during a Wednesday morning prayer service and fatally shot the worship leader before calmly walking out.
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Police confirm the man was shot at approximately 10:30 a.m. and was rushed to South Fulton Hospital in critical condition; he later died.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
Police are looking for a suspect who left the scene of the church, which is located at 2500 Burdett Road. Police are looking for a black Subaru in connection with the shooting, which reportedly occurred in the chapel where the church hosts a Bible study every Wednesday.
Karen Webb, who had taken her mother to the church for Bible study, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she was told the victim was shot six times.
“I brought my mother up here to go to church — every Wednesday she attends Bible study. As soon as we get here I’m told someone has been shot,” Webb said. “He was one of the praise leaders.” Webb said she was told the shooter was a 20-year member of the church.
WXIA reported the suspect was wearing a suit and tie at the time of the shooting. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted a witness, Karen Webb, as saying the victim was shot six times.
Lester said police were still investigating whether the shooter went to the church specifically to attack the worship leader.
“We do not know if the victim was targeted,” she said.
Palmer had worked as a facilities maintenance employee at the church until around August.
Linda Pritchett, 43, and a 10-year-member of World Changers, said the church has both uniformed and plainclothes security workers on duty at all times. She said she came to the church Wednesday morning after someone called her after hearing about the shooting.
“They called me because they know I’m always up here,” she said. “That person had to be extremely disturbed or have a serious problem in their life. They had to be extremely desperate.”
Dollar, 50, is founder and senior pastor of World Changers, which has satellite churches in cities around the nation. Dollar was the subject of a media flurry in June after he was arrested for “spanking” his 15-year-old daughter. He denied any impropriety and said he “should never have been arrested.”
Church members were struggling to understand what happened in their place of sanctuary.
“It’s very upsetting when your own member would come and do such a thing,” said Marcia Lowe, a member since 1996 who was late to Wednesday morning’s service only because she stopped at the post office. “Pastor has been preaching that the enemy will try to destroy us. This will not stop us.”