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Pastor, Congregation Hailed As Heroes in Church Shooting

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The pastor and members of the congregation that wrestled a gun away from a man police say opened fired in an Alabama church are being praised as heroes.

James Junior Minter, 26, is being held without bond in the shooting of his girlfriend, his infant son and the church pastor, Earl Carswell, who tried to intervene Sunday morning, according to Selma police Lt. Curtis Muhannad. Minter was arrested shortly after he opened fire during a church service at Oasis Tabernacle Church in East Selma, Alabama.

“A whole lot more people could have been shot,” District Attorney Michael Jackson said, “They all played a heroic role.”

Witnesses told police Minter entered the white, single story church that sits on a tree lined, two-lane road and sat in the front row between his girlfriend and the baby, according to a statement released by the Selma Police Department. Minter then pulled out a handgun and started shooting, the statement said. The girlfriend, 24, fell to the ground, and Minter fired at her, striking her in the jaw and shoulder. The baby, a 1-month-old boy, was shot in the hand.

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