Robert Findlay Smith: What we know about the 70 year old Alabama Church Suspect

Robert Findlay Smith
Robert Findlay Smith

Robert Findlay Smith, a 70 year-old arms dealer has been named the suspect in the murder of three elderly Alabama churchgoers at a ‘Boomers Potluck’ party.

Robert Findlay Smith, 70, now faces capital murder charges over Thursday’s triple-shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama.

Those killed have been named as Walter ‘Bart’ Rainey, 84, Jane Pounds, 84 and Sarah Yeager, 75, who also goes by the name Sharon.

Robert Findlay Smith is being held without bond.

Law enforcement blocked off portions of Sicard Hollow Road, where Robert Findlay Smith lived, on Friday afternoon as they executed a search warrant Ware said was related to the shooting.

Smith lived at 4128 Sicard Hollow Road, and was a federally-licensed gun dealer, running a “gun shop” called “Original Magazines 2,” according to records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

alabama church findlay smith

The shop’s address listed in ATF records matches Smith’s home address.

According to those records, Smith has been registered as a federal firearms dealer since March 1978.

Smith called himself a “master gunsmith” on a LinkedIn profile that included his name and the company’s name.

In a Friday morning press conference, Ware declined to answer a question about any previous run-ins the department had with Smith, after a local reporter asked about chatter overheard on a scanner that indicated police were aware of Smith and knew where he lived and what he drove.

Smith was described at the Friday morning news conference as an “occasional attendee” of the small group and at some point, opened fire, shooting the three victims, Ware said.

Another attendee subdued the suspect until police arrived, Ware said. Ware called the man a “hero” and said his efforts were “critical to saving lives.”

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