Police have arrested and charged a 26-year-old Alabama woman with the murder of a pastor's wife after a stray bullet killed her as she attended a church Bible study.
Police in Prichard, Mobile County, arrested the suspect, Kaillyn Christine Howard Harris, on charges of firing the shot that killed 65-year-old Grace Carter, the wife of a pastor at Sunlight Missionary Baptist Church, Fox 10 reported.
Grace Carter was inside the Everlasting Life Holiness Church Tuesday night when she was shot in the chest.
“I just don’t think that people should be shooting in places where you don’t know where a stray bullet could do,” the victim's husband, Cecil Carter, who's pastor-elect at a separate church, was quoted as saying.
Police said they went to the church after 7 p.m. and began CPR on the victim but could not resuscitate her, WKRG reported.
An investigator noticed a bullet hole in a door at the church and found she had been shot on her upper right chest.
“The church shooting was real gut-wrenching for us last night,” Lt. Robert Martin with Prichard Police was quoted as saying. “Anytime anyone is killed in our jurisdiction or any municipality, it touches the offices in a real compassionate way, and we’re just really fed up with it.”
Cecil Carter lost his wife while he was awaiting his installation as pastor at the church. “She was really looking forward to it,” he said about his wife of 35 years. "She was very proud" of him, he continued. “But right now, the emptiness of her not being here for the installation is going to be hard for me.”
He added, “Right now, I’m getting strength from knowing that God is able, and knowing that my wife is in a better place with the Lord. And no doubt about it that she loved the Lord. So I have to be strong for her, and myself, and for my family, my children and all.”
This is the third homicide in the city since Christmas Eve, according to media reports.
“It’s more of a retirement community. I’ve been over here at night, no gunfire, no nothing. So it’s a big shock to hear,” a neighbor was quoted as saying. “It’s sad and I hate that it happened to the church. Like I said, this is a quiet neighborhood and I’ve actually met the neighbors; they’re good people, old-fashioned people.”
Police have said the incident doesn’t appear to be an intentional shooting.