GARDENDALE, Ala. (AP) – A prominent Alabama pastor fatally shot his wife and wounded their 18-year-old daughter in their church-owned home before grabbing a kitchen knife and trying to stab himself to death, police said Friday.
The Rev. Terry Greer, 54, is being charged with murder in the slaying of 52-year-old Lisa Greer and attempted murder in the wounding of Suzanna Greer, a University of South Alabama student, according to police in Gardendale, a suburb about 10 miles north of Birmingham.
Greer is senior pastor at Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church near Birmingham. Prominent in Methodist circles in the area, he leads a church with an average Sunday attendance of about 670.
After Greer opened fire on his wife and daughter Thursday, the teenager grabbed the gun and ran to a neighbor’s house to alert authorities, police said.
The minister then grabbed a kitchen knife and went to a bathroom where he repeatedly stabbed himself in his chest and neck, police said. Responding officers stopped Greer and took him into custody.
Lisa Greer died early Friday at Birmingham Hospital, and police said the couple’s daughter is expected to make a full recovery. Authorities did not disclose details on where the women were wounded or how many times they were shot.
Greer underwent surgery and remained hospitalized with self-inflicted knife wounds, said Police Chief Mike Walker. When he is stabilized, Greer will be arrested and held on $135,000 bond, police said.
The reverend has been on medical leave since experiencing heart problems and a car accident in autumn, and details on what may have led up to the violence were not immediately available.
“We’re not going to speculate on motive or anything like that,” Walker said during a news conference.
Police said the family has lived in the Birmingham area since the middle of 2012, and authorities have never been called to their house before the shooting. Before moving to the Birmingham area, authorities say the reverend worked at a church in Decatur.
A worship leader at Greer’s church was recently arrested on charges of soliciting a child for sex and traveling to have sex with a child, but Walker said there did not appear to be any link between that case and the shootings.
A note posted on the church’s Facebook page said a counselor would be on hand for members in need of help.
“The Bishop and the Conference are being proactive in helping us as a church to cope with this tragedy,” said the note.
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