Three people were killed Thursday evening in a shooting at a church potluck near Birmingham, Alabama.

Police have arrested the suspect, who allegedly opened fire inside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, killing three parishioners who were attending an event called Boomers Potluck. Someone subdued the suspect, who has been arrested.

Those killed have been identified as Walter Rainey, 84; Sarah Yeager, 75, and an 84-year-old woman who asked police to withhold her name. She died at an Alabama hospital.

Police have so far only said the suspect is a white, 71-year-old male who occasionally attended services at the church, according to CBS News. No motive has been given for the attack.

The shooting is the latest in a long series of violent attacks that includes the recent murder of 19 children and two adults at a grade school in Uvalde, Texas, and the racially motivated killing of 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

CNN reported that the shooting is also the latest in a series of murders at U.S. houses of worship. This attack occurred on the eve of Friday’s seventh anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

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The Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and primate, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, was on his way to the memorial for that massacre when he received word of the shootings at St. Stephen’s.

As officials investigate this shooting, parents and other adults again find themselves wondering how to talk to their kids about these types of shootings — and how they can manage their own anxiety.

Lawmakers have also been pondering how to respond. Recently, a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, announced an “agreement in principle” for gun safety legislation that would boost mental health resources, target making schools safer and beef up the review process by which young adults can purchase firearms.

Asking ‘what can I do?’

En route to the memorial for the nine killed in 2015 at Mother Emanuel AME Church, the Rev. Curry released a statement that said, “The plague of gun violence in the United States affects us all and now it has affected a congregation in the Episcopal Church.”

He encouraged those reading his statement to be in prayer Sunday for “all victims of gun violence.” And he offered a written prayer that said in part: “Help us as a nation to find ways to bring an end to this scourge of violence, which hurts our children and our human family. Give us the strength we need, the courage we must have and the faith that you will see us through.”

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In his own written statement, the Rev. John Burruss, rector of St. Stephens, addressed how folks can help. “We can pray and we can gather. People have gathered as followers of Christ for 2000 years because of the belief that God’s outstretched arms can reach all of humanity through pain and the most unfathomable loss,” he said.

The statement continued, “We gather because we know that love is the most powerful force in the world and tonight, and in the days, months and years that come will hold onto that truth to know that Christ’s love will always shine.”

A legislative response

As earlier reported by the Deseret News, the bipartisan group of senators— including 10 Republicans, which would potentially overcome a filibuster — have reached an agreement that looks at school safety and mental health resources and would lengthen the time before someone ages 18-20 could get certain firearms, so that more complete background checks for both crime and mental health could be completed. No bill has yet be crafted from the “agreement in principle.”

That framework also includes a “red flag” provision. “The legislation would authorize and establish guidance for federal courts to issue extreme risk protective orders,” CNN reported. “It would allow family members to request a federal court order that would remove access to firearms for someone who is deemed a danger to themselves or others by the court.”

The House has already passed federal red flag legislation, but the Senate has not taken it up. The House has also passed legislation to raise the age to buy certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 years old.

Managing fear

Over the course of several high profile shootings, the Deseret News has asked experts how families can deal with the fear the attacks engender and how parents should talk to their kids about mass shootings.

Here’s a sampling of the advice we’ve been given:

  • Dr. Laurel L. Williams, professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, says parents have to deal first with their own stress. She said it helps to talk to another adult with whom you feel comfortable.
  • Cathy Kennedy-Paine, from the National Association of School Psychologists’ crisis response team, said it’s crucial for parents to keep their own emotions in check when they talk to children about scary events.
  • David Derezotes, a professor of social work and director of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Utah, says parents should talk to their children based on their development and what’s age-appropriate. But he warns against being overprotective. Instead, they should acknowledge that being fearful or anxious after such events is a natural reaction that should be addressed openly.
  • The National Association of School Psychologists says very young children don’t need to hear what happened, while grade-school-age kids should be given brief, simple information balanced with reassurance that they are safe and adults will protect them,
  • Older grade school and middle school students may need help sorting out fact from fiction, but conversations and reassurance around safety can be more detailed.
  • With older students, it’s important to emphasize their role in maintaining safe schools and following safety guidelines, the association says.
  • Experts agree that a good starting point is asking what young people know about an event and addressing their concerns and worries.
  • They also suggest parents give children — and themselves — a way to make the world a better place. Do something kind, donate to a fund that provides some relief or find another way to serve others, they said.