October 24, 2012 / 3:42 PM / 7 years ago

Suspected gunman in custody after Atlanta church shooting

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A former employee at a suburban Atlanta megachurch was taken into custody on Wednesday, only hours after he was said to have walked into the church with a gun and opened fire, killing a man leading a prayer service, police said.

Multiple gunshots rang out in the chapel of the World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia, around 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

The suspected gunman was identified as Floyd Palmer, a 52-year-old former church maintenance worker who resigned from his job in August, said Fulton County Police Corporal Kay Lester.

Palmer was arrested in an Atlanta shopping mall, nearly six hours after the shooting, said Jeff Foley, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.

“He did not put up a fight,” he said.

As many as 25 people were inside the church when Palmer was said to have walked calmly into the service and begin shooting, Lester said. He then turned around and walked out, driving away in a car.

Police identified the victim as Greg McDowell, a church member and volunteer. McDowell, 39, was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead, Lester added.

No other people attending the prayer service were injured or wounded. Police were trying to determine a motive in the shooting.

The church, one of the largest in the United States, is led by the Reverend Creflo Dollar, a prominent African-American preacher. Dollar was not at the church at the time of the shooting, Lester said.

Church officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Earlier this year, Dollar was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from an alleged assault on his teenage daughter. He denied the charges from the pulpit in June.

World Changers Church International serves nearly 30,000 members and has at least 10 satellite churches, according to its website.

Additional reporting by Kevin Gray and Dan Burns; editing by Vicki Allen and Paul Simao, desking by G Crosse

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