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Suspected gunman in custody after Atlanta church shooting

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A former employee at a suburban Atlanta megachurch was taken into custody on Wednesday, only hours after he allegedly walked into the church with a gun and opened fire, killing a man leading a prayer service, police said.

Multiple gunshots rang out in the chapel of the World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia, around 10 a.m.

The suspected gunman was identified as Floyd Palmer, a 52-year-old former church maintenance worker who resigned from his job in August, said Fulton County Police Corporal Kay Lester.

Palmer was arrested in an Atlanta shopping mall, nearly six hours after the shooting, said Jeff Foley, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.

"He did not put up a fight," he said.

As many as 25 people were inside the church when Palmer walked into the service and began shooting, Lester said. He fled the scene in a car.

Police identified the victim as Greg McDowell, a church member and volunteer. McDowell, 39, was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead, Lester said.

No one else attending the prayer service was injured or wounded. Police were trying to determine a motive in the shooting.

Palmer was charged with homicide and possession of a firearm during the commission of a homicide, and additional charges are pending, Lester said.

The church, one of the largest in the United States, is led by the Reverend Creflo Dollar, a prominent black preacher. Dollar was not at the church at the time of the shooting.

Earlier this year, Dollar was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from an alleged assault on his teenage daughter. He denied the charges from the pulpit in June.

World Changers Church International serves nearly 30,000 members and has at least 10 satellite churches, according to its website.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Gray and Dan Burns; Editing by Eric Beech)

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