GARDENDALE — A quiet neighborhood where the unthinkable happened earlier this year is taking steps to heal and move forward.
Neighbors came together Friday evening to throw a block party on Country Meadow Drive in Gardendale. They all live near the house where former Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church pastor Dr. Terry Greer allegedly shot his daughter and wife on Jan. 10 before stabbing himself with a knife.
His wife, Lisa, died of her wounds. Their daughter, Suzanna, 18 at the time of the incident, is healing from the incident and is reportedly living with family friends in another city.
Greer is being charged with murder and attempted murder and is being held in the Jefferson County Jail with no bond.
Gardendale police said Suzanna wrestled the gun away from her father and ran next door for help.
Janice Campbell said she was glad that she and her husband Michael were home at the time, although it has been difficult to deal with what they saw and heard. The Campbells attend Gardendale-Mt. Vernon UMC, so they knew the Greers as more than just neighbors; Terry Greer was their pastor.
“This is a quiet little street,” said Janice Campbell. The two dozen or so neighbors held the block party at her house on Friday.
The Campbells have lived there 16 years. “It’s been hard,” she said about the shock of the Greer incident next door.
But she was happy on Friday to talk with some neighbors that she had never met.
Another resident also met some new people from her street.
“This is a good way to meet your neighbors,” said Clee Vines, who has lived on the block 13 years.
“We were glad we lived across from the parsonage. What could be safer?” she said, adding that her children were frightened for a long time after the murder occurred.
“But we really don’t think about it much anymore,” Vines added.
That is what the neighbors seem to want — a return to normalcy.
Doris Moody, who was the driving force behind the block party, said cars still sometimes drive slowly back and forth in front of the church parsonage, but not as often as in the past.
“We really just wanted to bring the community together. That’s the purpose of this gathering,” she said at the party. “The idea is to regroup as neighbors on Country Meadow Drive and just get to know each other in an effort to bond as a family and bring a little happiness to the street.”
Another neighbor who was happy to take part in the gathering was Dr. Trish Harris, who has lived there since 2000.
Harris describes her neighborhood as “a little hidden community on a cul-de-sac.”
“It was disconcerting that it happened so close to home,” she said about the murder, “but we’re trying to bring people a lot closer together. We never took the time to get together before that happened.”
Harris said neighbors all over can learn something valuable from the January incident.
“I think we can learn to get more involved with people,” she said. “If we can just that away from this situation.”
The neighbors on Country Meadow Drive have started that process.