Daily Dispatches
Floyd Palmer
Associated Press/Fulton County Police Department
Floyd Palmer

Police: Georgia gunman charged in '01 mosque shooting


UPDATE: BALTIMORE (AP)—A former megachurch maintenance man accused of killing a volunteer leading a prayer service was charged more than a decade ago with a shooting at a mosque in Maryland, according to police documents.

Floyd Palmer was acting as security at a Baltimore mosque in June 2001 when he shot another man working with him, wounding him in the back, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday. Palmer tried to fire the gun again, but it jammed. When other people ran over to him, he turned the gun on them, but it again wouldn't fire, according to the documents.

The report did not say why Palmer shot the man in the back.

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Palmer faced attempted murder, assault and handgun charges, and he was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible to lesser charges. Court records show he was released the next year.

It's not clear when he made his way south to Atlanta. He had been working at World Changers Church International, but quit in August for "personal reasons," Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester said.

On Wednesday, authorities said Palmer, 51, calmly walked into a chapel as Greg McDowell, 39, was leading a morning prayer service for a group of about 25 people.

Only McDowell was shot. Authorities are trying to figure out if the two men knew each other.

Palmer casually walked out of the chapel and police arrested him several hours later when they spotted his station wagon at a mall in suburban Atlanta. Police said they have not found the gun.

Visibly distraught members of McDowell's family showed up at the Fulton County jail for Palmer's first court hearing Thursday, but he waived his appearance.

Palmer faces murder and firearms charges. His next hearing is Nov. 8.

EARLIER REPORT: COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP)—The man suspected of calmly walking into a service at an Atlanta-area megachurch and gunning down a church volunteer leading a prayer was committed eight years ago to a psychiatric hospital after a violent incident in Maryland, court records show.

Police in Georgia said former church worker Floyd Palmer, 51, entered a chapel at World Changers Church International just before 10 a.m. Wednesday and opened fire, killing church volunteer Greg McDowell, 39.

"He walked in calmly, opened fire, and left as calmly," Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester said.

Palmer was a former facilities maintenance employee at the church who resigned in August for "personal reasons," Lester said.

The church's well-known founder and leader, the Rev. Creflo Dollar, was not there at the time.

Palmer was taken into custody without incident a few hours later at a Macy's at a mall in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood, Lester said. Police spotted his black Subaru station wagon with tinted windows in the parking lot of Lenox Square. They didn't recover a weapon.

He faces murder and other charges, according to online jail records.

© 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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