We are praying: 2 mass shootings in less than 24 hours shock US; 29 killed
By The Associated Press // EEW Magazine
Christians around the world are praying after two separate mass shooters in Ohio and Texas killed 29 people and inured about 50 in less than 24 hours.
Officers gunned down the Ohio shooter at the doorstep of a bar-turned-hiding place in the middle of Dayton’s nightclub district, and arrested the El Paso shooter as hundreds fled a crowded shopping center. Though the two attacks staggered a nation accustomed to gun violence, the bigger shock may have been that the death toll wasn’t worse.
In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically.
Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people.
The attacks came less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed three people and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Although we must do more than send thoughts and prayers to the victims, prayer is always in order,” said a Texas pastor in a statement obtained by EEW Magazine. “As our nation gathers to collectively call for our leaders to change gun laws and stop the hateful rhetoric that fuels racism and violence, we must never forget to seek God, who is the only one able to transform hearts and minds.”
Reports say the El Paso shooting was being investigated as a possible hate crime as authorities worked to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested. The border city is home to 680,000 people, many of them Latino.
El Paso authorities offered few details about the assault, but Police Chief Greg Allen described the scene as “horrific” and said many of the 26 people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
In Dayton, the bloodshed was likely limited by the swift police response. Officers patrolling the area took just 30 seconds to stop the shooting, which unfolded around 1 a.m. on the streets of the downtown Oregon District, Mayor Nan Whaley said.
Video released by police shows 24-year-old Connor Betts being shot down by officers, just steps away from entering a bar filled with hiding patrons.
Had police not responded so quickly, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today,” Whaley said.
Betts’ 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts, was among those killed in Dayton.
Authorities identified the El Paso suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, a Dallas suburb which is a nearly 10-hour drive from El Paso.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said he knew the shooter was not from his city.
“It’s not what we’re about,” the mayor said at a news conference with Gov. Greg Abbott and the police chief.
President Donald Trump denounced both shootings, saying “hate has no place in our country.” Addressing reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, the president said Sunday that “we’re going to take care” of the problem. He said he’s been speaking to the attorney general, the FBI director and members of Congress and will make an additional statement Monday.