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Founder of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church speaks on deadly shooting

Douglas Carpenter founded St. Stephen's Episcopal Church nearly 50 years ago.
Douglas Carpenter founded St. Stephen's Episcopal Church nearly 50 years ago.(WBRC)
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 10:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2022 at 8:40 PM CDT
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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) - The founder of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church sat down with WBRC FOX6 News to give us insight into the deadly shooting at the church Thursday.

Douglas Carpenter founded the church nearly 50 years ago and says the tragic situation has been tiring.

“Well my mind first went to: Who was shot?” he added. “And then: What should I do?”

Those questions raced through Carpenter’s mind Thursday night after finding out about a shooting at his very own church.

“Of course, we never want something like this to happen,” said Carpenter.

It happened during a monthly get-together called the Boomer’s Potluck. He says he learned that one of the victims noticed someone sitting alone during the event.

“So he went over and said, ‘Come on and join us,’” said Carpenter. “The fellow said no, he wouldn’t. Bart Rainey’s wife Linda said, ‘Oh you don’t have any food, let me bring you some food.’ But he decided he didn’t want her to bring any food and then just right after that, he started shooting.”

Three people died from that shooting: Walter Rainey, Sarah Yeager, and Jane Pounds.

Carpenter said because of one hero, many other lives were saved.

“Jim Musgrove probably saved the lives of several people,” he said. “He charged the man even though the man was pointing his gun at him, hit him with a folding chair, knocked him down, pulled his gun away from him and hit him over the head with his own gun.”

Now, only several days after the tragic incident, Carpenter is adamant on one thing: supporting each other.

“The most important thing for any of us is our personal contacts with one another and being helpful to one another and experiencing life through one another.”

He says while awful things happen, the response to such tragedies is everything.

“So how we respond to this is going to be very important,” said Carpenter. “Will it make us more loving to one another? Will it make us realize more the value of life? The preciousness of individuals?”

St. Stephens plans to hold their regular services at 8am, 10:15am, and 5pm. As always, everyone is welcome to join.

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