Teenage victim in shooting at Vestavia church improving following several surgeries

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 8:03 PM CST
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Police responded to a shooting at a church in the 2700 block of Altadena Road in Vestavia.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says at approximately 8:30 p.m., they received calls that a male had entered the gymnasium at that location and fired shots at juveniles playing basketball.

One of them, 18-year-old Elder Michael Fauber, was struck by gunfire and transported to UAB Hospital. His exact condition is not known at this time, but he will survive his injuries, according to police.

Sam Penrod, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Monday afternoon that Fauber is still in serious but stable condition, but is improving.

Police say the suspect played a few basketball games with the teens before he started shooting, unprovoked.

The suspect is described as a 6′7″ light-skin Black male, mid-20s, according to police. They are actively searching for the suspect.

A spokesman with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued this statement on the shooting:

Counseling has been provided to the two other missionaries and offered to anyone else at the scene, according to Penrod.

Elder’s parents, David and Rachel Fauber, were able to communicate with their son after doctors lowered his sedatives following two surgeries the day after the shooting, according to The Church News.

“We were just talking about what he had been through and that he wasn’t afraid,” David Fauber said. “He asked me, ‘Am I going to die?’ And I said, ‘I don’t think so. Are you afraid?’ He said, ‘No. I know that if I do, I know where I will go.’ That’s the amazing thing.”

According to The Church News, Fauber’s breathing tube has now been removed, and he is ‘alert, attentive, responsive and speaking with a raspy voice and sore throat’.

Fauber was hit by four bullets in the shooting. “Two of the bullets struck him in the right side of his chest,” David Fauber said. “If they would have been on the left side, they would have hit his heart, and that would have been the end of that.”

Also, doctors were stumped for several days about a scratch on the missionary’s head, knowing he hadn’t hit his head after being shot and going to the ground. Closer examination revealed Monday that it was a fifth bullet that had just grazed the head, David Fauber said.

“If that had been a couple of inches over, that would have been fatal as well.”

Detectives are conducting a full investigation. If you have any information regarding the shooting, please contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 205-325-1450, option 2, or you may call Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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