Church just blocks away from mass shooting gathers to honor victims, offer support and healing

Posted at 9:12 PM, Jun 01, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Remembering lives lost. Many vigils took place this evening to pay respect to those who died Friday inside Municipal Building 2.

St. John's Baptist Church hosted a community vigil Saturday to honor the 12 victims and offer support, prayer and fellowship to those just a stone's throw away from the tragedy.

"When we saw the news Friday, we knew what to do. We had to open our doors to the community so close to this," said Pastor Charlie Brown.

The sanctuary was filled with heavy hearts as community members sat in shock trying to swallow the mass tragedy.

About 100 people gathered to find solace in the most senseless of situations, including Peggy Harrison who used to work in Building 2.

"I just couldn't believe it could not believe that was happening to where I worked and knew so many people," said Harrison.

She and others listened with tears in their eyes as the names of 12 victims were read aloud, one of her dear friend Richard Nettleton.

"He was such a great guy, just so great, I am just horrified," Harrison said.

Harrison worked beside the veteran city engineer for 5 years.

"When I looked at the TV this morning, I was so fearful I knew someone but praying I didn't, and when I saw Rich's picture I just started crying and bawling," Harrison said.

Inside the church a few rows down from Harrison sat a woman in tears, leaning heavily on her friends and family and simply grief stricken. She currently works in building two and narrowly escaped the gunfire.

"She was in the building and is still so scared and shaken up, she has seen and heard a lot of things, no one wants to even imagine," said student minister Kristen Duncan.

Those who witnessed an unprecedented nightmare, and those who lost their lives, remembered tonight though prayer, song and fellowship.

Click here for our full coverage on the Virginia Beach mass shooting.