Suspect in World Changers church shooting remains jailed - FOX 35 News Orlando

Suspect in World Changers church shooting remains jailed

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -

The man accused of a deadly shooting inside a south Fulton megachurch waived his first court appearance on Thursday and will remain jailed.
    
Floyd Palmer, 51, is facing four charges. They are Homicide Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault Murder, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. He is accused of shooting and killing of volunteer prayer leader Gregory McDowell at World Changers International Church on Wednesday morning.

FOX 5 has learned that this isn't the first time Palmer has been accused of shooting in a religious institution. Police in Baltimore say that in 2001, Palmer was a security guard for a mosque when he allegedly hot another guard at the mosque in the back.

According to Detective Jeremy Silbert of the Baltimore Police Department, Reuben Ash, 26, was shot in the back in that incident. Investigators believe that Palmer attempted to continued firing but the gun jammed.

Court records show Palmer was committed to a mental health facility for psychiatric care after pleading not criminally responsible to lesser charges in 2004. Records show he was released the following year.

Family members of McDowell were brought to the jail in Fulton County's Victim Advocate Van, hoping to get a glimpse of Palmer. They did not know he had waived his first appearance by the time they arrived.

Sunshine Lewis of the Fulton County District Attorney's Office, called McDowell a loving person and a god-fearing Christian man. She says they will do everything they can to "bring justice to the senseless crime."

World Changers Pastor Creflo Dollar addressed the shooting during a sermon streamed live over the internet late on Wednesday night. He talked about McDowell, a volunteer and long-time member, who was leading morning prayer services when he was shot.


"We didn't lose a friend today. We didn't lose a brother today. Somebody said, 'what do you mean we didn't lose him?' I know exactly where he is," said Dollar during the sermon.

A manhunt for Palmer, who worked at World Changers International Church until August, ended in the afternoon at Lenox Square Mall. An Atlanta police officer found the suspect's car, and authorities then cornered and arrested Palmer without incident at Macy's.

"They had U.S. Marshals there. They had lots of Atlanta police officers there. Also inside. So he didn't really have a chance to do anything," said witness Paras Thaker.

According to the Associated Press, Palmer was arrested in 2001 on attempted murder, assault and weapons charges in Maryland. He was committed to a mental health facility after pleading to lesser charges.

Late Wednesday night, the SWAT team was called in when investigators executed a search warrant at Palmer's Riverdale apartment, which officials feared was booby-trapped.
    
Precious Cole, who lived below Palmer, says she didn't know him well.

"I saw the picture at work and I said that the guy looked a little familiar but I, well you know, just dismissed it. Oh my gosh," said Cole.

McDowell left behind a wife and two sons. During the sermon, Dollar said he would make sure to take care of McDowell's wife and two children.

Palmer is being held in the Fulton County Jail without bond. His next court appearance is set for Friday at 11 a.m.

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