RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of people came together Monday for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the mass shooting in Texas while trying to find solutions to curb violent incidents across the country.
“I think we need to search the hearts of those who are doing these kinds of things,” said Dianne Pickett, a member of Highland United Methodist Church, which hosted Monday’s vigil.
The gunman killed 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
“I’m the father of two kids, and to see entire families taken out, the parent in you just kind of raises up,” said Charlie Baber, associate pastor at Highland UMC.
Following the shooting, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) called for more armed security at churches or arming people attending services, so that they would be able to respond to an incident like the one in Texas.
North Carolina law allows people to have guns in a church as long as the church does not forbid them.
Bishop Darnell Dixon of Bible Way Temple in Raleigh said he supports having trained, armed security.
“The climate of our day dictates the preparedness of any place where people gather,” he said.
However, leaders of Highland UMC say their policy prohibits guns at their church.
“And, we don’t believe guns should ever be brought into a church, even for protection,” said Baber. “It’s very easy for people to turn to political sides in a time like this and forget the humanity behind what has happened.”
Some of the church’s members echoed that sentiment during Monday’s vigil.
“It’s going to have to be a spiritual solution,” said Steve Gergen.
In addition to the vigil at Highland UMC, there was also an interfaith vigil at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh aimed at “changing the culture of violence.”