21-year-old charged in shooting during basketball game at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church

Homewood, AL – A seemingly routine pickup basketball game at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church took a dangerous turn when 21-year-old Kerry Jermaine Austin-Thornton allegedly fired a shot inside the church’s recreation center. Homewood police, responding swiftly, obtained an attempted murder warrant against Austin-Thornton in connection with the incident.

The unsettling event unfolded on Thursday at 9:39 a.m. when police were dispatched to the church’s recreation center on Oxmoor Road following reports of shots fired. Sgt. John Carr revealed that Austin-Thornton discharged one round inside the rec center during what appeared to be a heated dispute arising from the basketball game. The suspect quickly fled the scene in a vehicle.


While the details of the argument remain undisclosed, it is confirmed that the shooting did not result in any injuries. Law enforcement acted promptly, taking Austin-Thornton into custody several hours later at a residence in the 7800 block of 6th Avenue North in Birmingham.

On Saturday, Homewood police secured an attempted murder warrant against Austin-Thornton, who is set to be transferred from the Homewood City Jail to the Jefferson County Jail. His bond has been established at $60,000, reflecting the severity of the charges.

The incident highlights the unpredictability of confrontations, even in seemingly safe spaces like a church recreation center. Authorities are urging the community to remain vigilant and report any information related to the incident. The motive behind the dispute and subsequent shooting is yet to be fully uncovered as the investigation continues.

The episode serves as a stark reminder of the need for conflict resolution and maintaining the sanctity of spaces intended for community gatherings and recreation.

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