BALTIMORE — A former megachurch maintenance man accused of killing a volunteer leading a prayer service in a Georgia chapel was charged more than a decade ago with a shooting at a mosque in Maryland, according to police documents.
Floyd Palmer was part of a security detail 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 AP Thursday. Palmer tried to fire again, but the gun jammed. When other people ran over to him, he turned the gun on them, but it wouldn’t fire, according to the documents.
During a pretrial psychological evaluation, Palmer said the shooting occurred in part because he believed NFL player Ray Lewis and members of his own family were out to get him.
Palmer was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible. Despite objections from prosecutors, a judge released him in 2006 on the condition he abide by a number of restrictions for five years.
It’s not clear when he made his way south. He had been working at World Changers Church International in an Atlanta suburb, but quit in August for ‘‘personal reasons,’’ Fulton County Police Corporal Kay Lester said.
On Wednesday, authorities said Palmer, 51, walked into a chapel as Greg McDowell, 39, led a morning prayer service for a group of about 25 people.
He fired several shots, according to a witness, but only McDowell was hit. Authorities were trying to figure out if the two men knew each other.
Palmer calmly left 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.