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Former Ga. megachurch worker sought in fatal shooting

Police officers merged with shoppers outside the Lenox Mall in Atlanta, where they were searching for a shooting suspect.

CURTIS COMPTON/ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION VIA AP

Police officers merged with shoppers outside the Lenox Mall in Atlanta, where they were searching for a shooting suspect.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A volunteer leading a prayer service at a Georgia megachurch was shot and killed Wednesday morning, and authorities were searching for a former church employee suspected in the shooting.

The shots were fired just before 10 a.m. inside a chapel on the campus of World Changers Church International, which says it has 30,000 followers and is located in College Park, a suburb south of Atlanta.

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The church’s well-known founder and leader, the Rev. Creflo Dollar, was not at the church at the time of the shooting, Fulton County police Corporal Kay Lester said.

Authorities identified the suspect as Floyd Palmer, 52, a former facilities maintenance employee at the church. Lester said Palmer, who should be considered armed and dangerous, had resigned from his job at the church in August for ‘‘personal reasons.’’

About 20 to 25 people were gathered in the chapel Wednesday morning, when authorities say the gunman walked in and began shooting. No one else was wounded, and the gunman fled in a black Subaru station wagon with tinted windows, she said.

Authorities were working to determine if the suspect and the victim knew each other. Investigators were interviewing witnesses who’d been inside the chapel.

Although the campus has security officers and surveillance cameras, Lester said the suspect was known to some of those at Wednesday’s morning service, so his presence wouldn’t have been unusual. She said he also would have known the quickest way to leave the property and he was not believed to still be in the vicinity.

The victim was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Lester said. His name was not immediately released pending family notification.

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