The madman who allegedly fatally shot three people at an Alabama church was a federally licensed gun dealer who allegedly failed to keep a record of a weapon he’d sold, running afoul of authorities, a new report said.
Robert Findlay Smith, 70, of Birmingham, was sitting by himself at a potluck supper at Stephen’s Episcopal Church when he suddenly whipped out a handgun opened fire on three elderly attendees.
He was only stopped after another churchgoer hit him with a chair, pushed him to the ground and got the weapon.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had given Smith a warning letter in February 2018 after an “on site” compliance investigation at his Sicard Hollow Road home, AL.com reported, citing a joint investigation by The Trace and USA Today into how the ATF monitors gun dealers and manufacturers.
Smith, who did business as “Original Magazine 2,” earned the caution after failing to record the sale or disposition of a firearm in seven days.
And while there were 86 weapons on hand, the investigation by the two outlets found ATF records which said Smith’s inventory showed 97 firearms and that he had “failed to record the disposition of … [the] firearms.”
No one at the church seemed to know Smith, and the motive is unclear for the Thursday killings of Walter Rainey, 84, Sarah Yeager, 75, and Jane Pounds, 84, who died of her injuries the next day.