Arrests made in Alabama shooting of 18-year-old LDS missionary

Two suspects were booked into the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham.

Two suspects were arrested Dec. 9 in the recent shooting of an 18-year-old Latter-day Saint missionary serving in Alabama, authorities there announced Tuesday.

Courtney Lee Knight, 18, is accused of shooting Michael Fauber of Dayton, Ohio — a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — multiple times on Dec. 3, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Fauber was taken to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, where he underwent surgery. As of Tuesday, Fauber’s condition is improving and he is expected to recover from his injuries, Alabama authorities said.

Knight was booked into the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham on $60,000 bond. Authorities also arrested 22-year-old Cornelius Omar James Knight in connection with the shooting. He faces a charge of hindering prosecution during the investigation. His bond is set at $15,000.

“Our detectives worked tirelessly to develop the information from what initially seemed to be a needle in a haystack,” the news release states. “Through collaborative efforts with the U.S. Marshals Service, the community and other law enforcement agencies, they were able to solve this unwarranted attack on a blameless person.”

Shooting happened at LDS meetinghouse

The Salt Lake Tribune previously reported that ahead of the Dec. 3 shooting, Fauber was in the Birmingham Stake Center (a regional meetinghouse), located on the 2700 Block of Altadena Road in Vestavia Hills, where a weekly athletic activity was being held. He was with two other missionaries and a group of people interested in learning more about the church.

At about 8:30 p.m., Fauber spoke with an individual (since identified as Courtney Lee Knight) who came into the building. Knight then drew a gun, shot Fauber multiple times and fled, police said.

The other missionaries in the building were not harmed but are receiving counseling.

“Our prayers are with this missionary, his family and all the missionaries and others impacted by this senseless act of violence,” church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a new release at the time.

Shooting follows string of violence, deaths

The attack came just weeks after two gunmen held up 70 missionaries in Mexico during a routine meeting. Several of the 13 sisters and 57 elders were hit or kicked, while the mission president and his wife were threatened with a knife.

Additionally, 10 Latter-day Saints have died this year while serving full-time missions for the Salt Lake City-based faith.

In July, a 20-year-old missionary from Utah and his 20-year-old companion from Montana were killed in a head-on collision in New Mexico.

Earlier that month, 60-year-old mission President José Maria Batalla, a native of Argentina, died of cardiac arrest after battling COVID-19 for two months. He had been overseeing the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission.

In May, an 18-year-old missionary from Utah and his 20-year-old companion from Colorado were killed in a head-on collision in Denton, Texas.

In March, a 21-year-old missionary drowned in his homeland of El Salvador and a 48-year-old mission president in the Philippines died of an apparent heart attack.

In January, a 24-year-old elder serving in his home country of Haiti died after being admitted to a hospital with “health complications”; a 19-year-old elder from Utah was killed in a car crash in Arkansas; and a 20-year-old Nigerian serving a mission in his homeland died after a “sudden health episode (unrelated to COVID-19).”