World Changers Church shooting suspect Floyd Palmer due in court Friday

7:17 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Church shooting suspect arrested at Macy's at Lenox Square

Video: World Changers church shooting suspect's home searched

Video: World Changers Church shooting suspect waives first appearance

Video: Church shooter has lengthy criminal record

  • Floyd Palmer (Fulton County Sheriff's Department)
  • Greg McDowell was shot while leading Bible study at World Changers Church International.
  • The suspect is inside this black SUV, seen outside Lenox Square Wednesday afternoon.
  • Members of McDowell's family left court Thursday.

ATLANTA -- The suspect in the deadly shooting at World Changers Church International is scheduled to make a first appearance Friday.

It was supposed to be Thursday morning, but Floyd Palmer waived his first appearance then changed his mind.

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Palmer has been charged with homicide murder, felony murder, aggravated assault murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

While he did not appear Thursday, family members of shooting victim Greg McDowell did make it to court. McDowell's mother broke down sobbing while waiting to go inside. She kept saying, "My baby, my baby, he's dead, he's dead."

"The family's just asking prayer for them at this time," Sunshine Lewis, with Fulton County Victims Services, said on the family's behalf. 

McDowell, a 39-year-old father of two, was leading prayer during a Bible study in the World Changers' chapel when police said he was shot at point-blank range.

RELATED | Remembering Greg McDowell

Congregants said they recognized Palmer as the shooter right away. The 51 year old used to work at the church and resigned in August supposedly for "personal reasons".  

McDowell was a long time member and volunteer at the church.

Police sources tell 11Alive News it's not yet clear if he was targeted or what kinds of relationship he had with Palmer, if any. 

U.S. Marshals arrested Palmer at the Starbucks inside Macy's at Lenox Square Wednesday afternoon, hours after the shooting at Pastor Creflo Dollar's megachurch in south Fulton County.

RELATED | Creflo Dollar addresses church after shooting

Overnight, officers executed a search warrant on his Riverdale apartment and called in the Clayton County bomb squad over concerns his door may have been booby-trapped.

"There was some sort of obstruction behind the door that apparently set off an alarm," said John Schneller with Clayton County Police. "So in the interest of safety, they backed out, called the explosive ordinance division." There was no bomb.

11Alive News has learned Palmer, who used to work at World Changers, has a history of mental health issues and a police record in Maryland.

In 2004, he pleaded guilty to a count of assault and carrying a handgun. He was also charged with the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime and attempted murder in connection with that incident in Baltimore.

He spent time at a mental health facility for those crimes.

11Alive asked Fulton County Sheriff's officials on Thursday if Palmer had undergone any kind of mental health evaluation with this latest shooting. We were told that type of information could not be disclosed at this point.

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