GARDENDALE — Methodist minister Terry Greer shot his wife and daughter with a pistol, fatally wounding his wife, and then stabbed himself Thursday at their residence in Gardendale, police said today.
Police Chief Mike Walker said daughter Suzanna Greer, 18, was able to wrestle the gun out of her father's hand and flee to a neighbor's house. The neighbor called 911, police said.
After Suzanna escaped, Terry Greer went into a bathroom where he repeatedly stabbed himself in the chest and neck with a kitchen knife, Walker said. When officers arrived, they restrained him. Walker said Terry Greer, 54, senior pastor at Gardendale-Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, resisted arrest.
The Greers were treated by Gardendale Fire Department paramedics at the scene, then transported to the emergency room at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital.
Lisa Greer, 52, died at about 1 a.m. today. Suzanna is in stable condition. Walker said she was very helpful with police questions.
Walker said police believe Terry Greer intended to kill his wife and daughter and that committing suicide with the knife "seemed to be his intention."
Terry Greer, former Decatur First United Methodist Church pastor, is also in stable condition at the hospital and is under police guard, Walker said. Terry Greer has been charged with murder and attempted murder by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
"He will be transferred to the custody of the sheriff's office as soon as practical," Walker said. Terry Greer will be booked into Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $135,000 bail.
"Our hope is that the church and community will support Ms. Greer (Suzanna) during the aftermath of this tragic incident and beyond," Walker said.
Gardendale is a suburb north of Birmingham.
The family resided in a parsonage owned by Gardendale-Mount Vernon United Methodist, where Terry Greer has been senior pastor since June.
Lisa Greer was formerly a teacher and reading coach at Chestnut Grove Elementary, Decatur City Schools Superintendent Ed Nichols said this morning.
“This is just a tragic thing,” Nichols said. “She was a fine person. Sweet. A good teacher. You couldn’t ask for a finer person.”
Nichols said she did some contract work at a couple of schools for the district after she retired.
Terry Greer was very active in the Decatur community, particularly in the civic organization Rotary.
“Terry worshipped his wife and daughter,” said Nichols, a past Decatur Rotary president. “And his daughter, she’s just a sweet girl. Just a sweet family.”
Terry Greer was replaced at Decatur First United Methodist by Rudy Guess, who had been the pastor at Mount Vernon.
A neighbor called police Thursday afternoon after hearing a gunshot at the Greer residence on Country Meadow Drive in north Gardendale.
Upon arrival, police found two females shot and a male stabbed.
First United Methodist pastor emeritus Charles Boling said late Thursday he had heard “very little” about the incident, but it was his understanding that all three were in surgery.
Rev. Wylheme Ragland, the pastor at Lakeview United Methodist Church in Tanner, is friends with Terry Greer and said he was “shocked” but did not have any additional information.
Terry married Lisa in 1985, according to Lisa’s Facebook page. Suzanna is a freshman at the University of South Alabama and a 2012 Decatur High graduate.
Terry Greer spent eight years at First United Methodist before becoming senior pastor at Mount Vernon. The North Alabama Conference appointed Greer to the position.
Former Gardendale Mayor Kenny Clemons, who attends Mount Vernon, said Greer had a car wreck in October resulting from heart complications while he was driving. A month later, he was injured when he fell from a deck.
“He’s not been very involved in the church for three to four months,” Clemons said. “All we can do is offer prayers ... I’m sure he has a lot of friends in Decatur who are shocked and surprised, too.”
An email sent by Mount Vernon staff to members of the congregation said the Rev. Sherry Ferguson would be at the Gardendale church from 1-4 p.m. today to counsel anyone who “needs to speak with her about this tragedy.”
Staff members Eric Fleischauer and Don Hudson contributed to this article.