A woman opened fire at an Atlanta church before services started Sunday morning, killing her mother and the minister before committing suicide.
POLICE DID NOT release the names of the women, but congregants of Turner Monumental A.M.E. Church said the daughter had a history of mental illness.
No one else was in the church when the woman started shooting sometime between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., authorities said.
Atlanta Police Lt. Randall Robinson said one of the dead was the Rev. J.C. Reynolds, pastor of the church in the Kirkwood neighborhood, on the city’s east side.
Police spokesman Sgt. John Quigley said officers don’t know of any possible motive.
“This is a 43-year-old woman who went in the church and ended up shooting and killing her mother and the pastor and then turning the weapon on herself,” he said.
Outside the church, people in Sunday dresses and suits sobbed and hugged as they heard about the shooting.
Geraldine Andrews, Reynolds’ daughter-in-law, identified the shooter as church member Sheila Robinson. Andrews said Robinson’s mother had recently taken the woman out of a mental health facility.
“The mother, I think, went to get her out sooner than she should have gotten out,” Andrews said.
Sheila Robinson’s cousin, Nekeshia Burton, 17, said Robinson had gone to the church early in the morning to talk to Reynolds.
“Something wasn’t sitting right with her,” Burton said. But Burton said there was no sign that Robinson would become violent.
Church members said Reynolds, pastor at the church for nine years, was in his fifties and a native of Sparta, Ga. Andrews described him as “wonderful” and “a phenomenal leader.”
© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.