By Norman Gomlak
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. —
A man opened fire Wednesday morning inside the chapel of a Georgia megachurch, killing one, and police were still searching for the suspect.
The shooting happened just before a 10 a.m. Wednesday service at World Changers Church International, a church that says it serves about 30,000 followers in College Park, a suburb south of Atlanta.
The victim was not immediately identified. The church’s prominent founder and leader, the Rev. Creflo Dollar, was not injured, Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester told The Associated Press. It was unclear whether Dollar was at the church when it happened.
Lester said the suspect fled in a vehicle. A few schools in the surrounding neighborhood were locked down temporarily.
It wasn’t known how many people were in the chapel when the shooting happened or how many shots were fired, Lester said.
The 50-year-old Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta, with a ministry of satellite churches across the U.S.
On the church grounds, yellow tape surrounded one building. Police were not letting people onto the campus and were gradually letting members of the ministry out.
A security guard at the administrative office declined to comment as did several church employees.
Several church members walked over to the scene just after hearing about the shooting.
“Why would anyone want to hurt the church?” said Adolph Hanley, 66, of College Park, who has attended the church for two years. “That’s the devil’s work.”
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hanley said. “People don’t want the real Word.”