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article imageGunman jailed in prayer service tragedy at Creflo Dollar's church

By Yukio Strachan     Oct 24, 2012 in Crime
The gunman arrested after he allegedly walked into Creflo Dollar's famed megachurch and killed a man leading prayer, was once reportedly committed to a mental health facility after being accused of attempted murder.
Police in Georgia arrested Floyd Palmer, 51, at the Macy's store at Lenox Square mall in Buckhead just after 4 p.m. Wednesday Channel 2 Action News is reporting.
CBS Atlanta says the arrest came hours after Palmer, a former church maintenance worker, calmly walked into the chapel at World Changers Church International in suit and tie during a 10 a.m. prayer service and opened fire, killing Gregory McDowell, 39, while he was leading prayer.
"Mr. Palmer walked inside of the church. He was in a calm fashion. He walked in and began shooting and calmly left the church," Fulton County police Cpl. Kay Lester said during a news conference.
Afterwards, police said Palmer got into a black Subaru with tinted windows and drove off.
McDowell, a church prayer leader, was one of about 20 to 25 people gathered for the prayer service when the shooting happened. He died after he was taken to a local hospital.
Lester told Channel 2's Ryan Young that Palmer fired multiple shots, but McDowell was the only person hit.
Palmer was taken into custody without incident, Lester said. They didn't recover a weapon.
He was being charged with homicide and possession of firearms in commission of a homicide, with additional charges pending.
Court records show a man named Floyd Lester Palmer, born on the same day in 1960, was charged in Baltimore in 2001 with attempted murder, assault and handgun charges. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible to lesser charges. The records show he was released the next year subject to conditions that were to remain in effect for five years, according to the AP.
The devil gets NO victory
The violence upset members and neighbors of the church, which is one of the largest in the United States, claiming 30,000 members at the main campus and a ministry of satellite churches across the country.
Dollar was not at the church during the shooting and no one else was injured, the United States Marshal’s Service said according to the The New York Times.
Earlier Wednesday, several church members walked over to the scene after hearing about the shooting, The Associated Press.
On Wednesday evening, Minister Ken Terry addressed the media on the McDowell family's behalf.
"He's a tremendous leader in our church, a tremendous server, just a dynamic guy," Terry said of McDowell.
Terry continued to say that McDowell, a longtime member of World Changers Church International, was a "model dad" to his two boys. He then asked for comfort, love and support for the McDowell family.
"It's just sad that someone would be in an emotional state to feel to resolve whatever problems or issue they had in this manner," Linda Pritchett said, who is a church member at World Changers.
Along with Bishop Eddie Long, Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers in the nation who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.
Dollar didn't immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press, but he preached Wednesday evening at a Bible study in the campus's larger World Dome sanctuary. He repeated the importance of having faith in God even when bad things happen and rejecting fear and doubt.
"The devil gets NO victory today but to usher a saint into Heaven! ~Dr. Creflo Dollar" said a tweet on Twitter.
More about Pastor Creflo Dollar, World Changers Church International, Murder Suspect
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