A tragedy was averted in Selma, Alabama this past Sunday, when a man tried to kill his estranged girlfriend and their 4-week-old son by firing upon them at point blank range with a pistol he snuck into Sunday’s church service.
James Minter is facing three counts of attempted murder after he shot his infant son, ex-girlfriend, and Pastor Bob Carswell at Oasis Tabernacle Church, one mile outside of downtown Selma.
According to eye witnesses, Minter entered the church and sat between his ex-girlfriend and their son. As the service was beginning, Minter jumped to his feet, turning to fire one shot at his son, whom he struck in the hand. He then turned to fire at least three rounds at his ex-girlfriend, Sharnika Brown, striking her once in the chin. The shot to the chin, knocked Brown to the ground, which gave her father enough time to restrain Minter from behind before he could get another shot off at his daughter. Pastor Carswell was shot twice in the leg as he pulled the gun from Minter’s grasp.
Minter was able to flee the church but was subsequently arrested by police less than a mile from the church.
“When he sat down, he didn’t have time to get the bench warm and then he jumped up and turned the gun straight at her and started shooting at her head,” said Pastor Carswell.
Carswell went on to say that he had been approached by Brown’s mother prior to the service with concerns that Minter was arm and intended to harm Brown, as well as their baby. According to Brown’s family, Minter had visited their home before church, claiming that they were trying to keep him away from his son, it was at this time that he followed the family to the church.
“If not for the quick thinking and intervention of the pastor and the other members of the congregation it could have been a massacre in the church,” said District Attorney Michael Jackson “He was trying to kill her and the baby.”
James Minter’s bond has been set at $3 million. His 4-week-old son had to have surgery to reattach three fingers that were shot from his hand, and Brown is recovering in the hospital. Pastor Carswell was able to attend Minter’s bond hearing despite the injuries he sustained.
“I’ll tell you the truth: I forgive him,” said Carswell. “But he doesn’t need to be out on the street.”