An 18-year-old missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remained in “serious but stable condition” over the weekend after being shot multiple times while serving in the church’s Alabama Birmingham Mission on Friday by an unknown assailant who police say is still on the run.
In a statement, Latter-day Saints spokesperson Sam Penrod identified the missionary as Elder Michael Fauber of Dayton, Ohio.
He said Fauber was in the Birmingham Stake Center in Vestavia Hills with two other missionaries “and a group of people interested in learning more about the Church.” Penrod said a weekly activity was being held and basketball was being played in the center’s cultural hall when Fauber spoke with the unknown individual who entered the building when the person opened fire and shot him several times before running away.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Joni Money told AL.com that deputies responded just after 8:30 p.m. to the shooting.
Deputy Chief David Agee said the shooter was described as a skinny black male looking to be in his mid-20s with a light complexion who stands about 6 feet, 7 inches tall.
The shooting suspect reportedly entered the gym, played a few basketball games with the youth group, and then started shooting for no apparent reason.
“This was the first time they’ve seen him at this location,” Agee told AL.com, who noted that no one was familiar with the shooting suspect.
Penrod said Fauber was taken to UAB Hospital in Birmingham for surgery, and his parents traveled from Ohio to be there with him.
“Other missionaries in the building were not physically hurt but are receiving counseling. The Church is cooperating with law enforcement and is awaiting additional details from investigators,” Penrod said. “Our prayers are with this missionary, his family and all the missionaries and others impacted by this senseless act of violence.”
Other missionaries and Fauber’s friends solicited prayers for him to make a full recovery.
“Please pray for our good friend and my missionary companion Elder Michael Fauber!! There was a shooting that occurred last night and as a result Elder Fauber was shot multiple times,” Latter-day Saint missionary Carson Votava wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.
“Right now he is in critical but stable condition in the hospital. Please pray and fast that he will be able to make a full recovery! Our prayers definitely go out to him and his family. We love you Elder Fauber!!! Get better soon!!! Heavenly Father and His angels are with you!!”
Ethan Carn, another missionary, noted: “For those who know missionaries, regardless of what religion they are or what religion you are, please protect them. I know God watches over them but they need your help and they are trying to serve the Lord.”