1 dead in World Changers church shooting - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

1 dead in World Changers church shooting

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Police on the scene of a deadly shooting at World Changers International Church in south Fulton County on Wednesday morning (photo by Doug Evans/FOX 5). Police on the scene of a deadly shooting at World Changers International Church in south Fulton County on Wednesday morning (photo by Doug Evans/FOX 5).
Gregory McDowell was shot and killed on Wednesday morning as he lead worship services inside World Changers International Church. Gregory McDowell was shot and killed on Wednesday morning as he lead worship services inside World Changers International Church.
Police have identified the shooting suspect as 52-year-old Floyd Palmer, a former World Changers International Church employee. Police have identified the shooting suspect as 52-year-old Floyd Palmer, a former World Changers International Church employee.
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -

Fulton County police say a man was shot and killed on Wednesday morning as he lead worship services inside World Changers International Church.  The shooting suspect, who has been identified as former church employee Floyd Palmer, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon.

During a 12:30 p.m. press conference, Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester said Palmer, 51, walked into the church's chapel around 10:30 a.m., opened fire, and then calmly left.

Police identified the shooting victim as 39-year-old Gregory McDowell of Union city, a church volunteer who was leading church services when he was shot.   Lester said investigators do not know yet if he was targeted.

The shooting occurred in what the church calls its chapel, where members were holding the morning prayer service. There were 20 to 30 people present at the time, but no one else was hurt. Police interviewed witnesses who were inside the chapel at the time of the shooting, some of whom identified Palmer as the shooter.

Police took Palmer into custody just before 4 p.m. at Lenox Square in Buckhead.

Cpl. Lester said Palmer used to work as a maintenance man at the church, but he resigned from his position earlier this year.

The megachurch in south Fulton County is pastored by the Rev. Creflo Dollar. SKYFOX 5 footage showed that Dollar was at the shooting scene shortly afterwards but was not present when the violence broke out. In his Wednesday evening sermon, which was streamed on the internet, Dollar said that he was in his morning briefing when he got word that there had been gunshots.

"It was a time of shock, sadness, sorrow, and time of remembering who Jesus is and what he has done for our lives," Dollar said.

The chapel is located in an older section of the church's campus, and it is also home to a daycare center.  Dozens of children were inside at the time, but none of them were injured.  Parents were seen coming to the church all morning long to pick up their kids.

Fulton County Schools placed McNair Elementary and Bethune Elementary Schools on lockdown as a precaution as police searched for Palmer. The lockdowns were later lifted.

Church members at the scene told FOX 5 they can't believe someone would walk into their church and do this.

The non-denominational church was established in 1981. It is headquartered on an 81-acre campus located about 15 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta. In the past 30 years, the congregation has expanded to about 30,000 members, according to its website. World Changers also has more than 20 satellite churches across the nation.

In Wednesday's service, Dollar talked about the victim and the suspects, who were both involved at the megachurch.  

"We work so hard to prepare for the evil that comes from the outside in, and the challenges that come from the outside out…you can be clipped from something on the inside, from behind and that's what happened today," said Dollar.

Dollar said that the church would do everything that it could to support McDowell's wife and children.

The shooting isn't the first at the church. Back in 2005, Fulton County police opened fire on a man who stormed into the church building and fought with security guards. The man was later identified as a former security guard at World Changers International.

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