The Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newington held a moment of prayer for the victims in the Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas.
Parishioners in Sutherland Springs, Texas were attending morning services on Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, about 20 miles outside of San Antonio when witnesses say a man entered the church, clad in all black, and opened fire on the congregation.
Authorities said 26 people were killed by gunfire, including children, and dozens more injured. Police said the suspect, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley of a neighboring town, fled in the car in which he arrived, and was found dead. Officials are investigating how Kelley died.
In Newington, the Emmanuel Baptist Church united in prayer for the victims.
“We trust in you as a church family. We live in a fragile world. Help us as believers to be a light,” said Senior Pastor Cary Schmidt to those in attendance.
Eyewitness News spoke with one parishioner who said she learned she shares a mutual friend with the Texas pastor whose 14-year-old daughter was among those killed.
“I have a friend who posted that he was friends of the pastor down there, and he requested prayer, because his daughter was one of the persons that was shot,” described Manchester resident, Shannon Haigler.
“You know, I have a daughter and a son so I put myself in his shoes.”
The ages of the victims range from 5 years old to 72 years old, authorities said, but identities have not yet been released.
“Evil exists, we battle it daily,” said Berlin resident, David Hunt. “And, we have to use good vigilance and take in to our own hands what we can and be accountable for what we do.”
Today, state and federal lawmakers urged for tougher gun control laws.
Senator Richard Blumenthal tweeted, “Enough is enough. Now is the time for commonsense gun violence prevention steps. Congressional complicity must end.”
Senator Chris Murphy echoed similar sentiments, “The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."
Conversely, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League President Scott Wilson said in a comment, “We are stunned and saddened by this tragedy and lack of respect for human life. Once again our two senators and our governor are using this horrible event to politicize their gun control schemes.”
Parishioners in Newington described visiting church as a place to be vulnerable and open oneself up to praise and worship.
They told Eyewitness News that in the coming days, members will gather to discuss ways they can send support and help to Texas following the tragedy.
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