Nine students and one adult are among the dead at Santa Fe High School just south of Houston, according to media reports. At least 10 additional people at the school were wounded in the shooting, which occurred around 7:30 a.m.
A 17-year-old suspect is in custody, as is a second person of interest, though the person of interest may not be a suspect, according to media reports. Explosives were found at the school and off campus, and two weapons reportedly were used in the shooting.
Grief counseling, prayer and offers to assist with funeral arrangements are among the ways local Christians sprang to action.
“I’m not sure which is harder to take, this or [Hurricane] Harvey,” said Lee Balinas, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hitchcock, Texas, three miles away from the school. Damage from Harvey in August 2017 “was widespread. But this one, because of the suddenness and the shock and 10 young lives snuffed out — it’s different.
“You can replace stuff … but these are lives and potential for the future that will be lost forever,” said Balinas.
Church members have children who attend Santa Fe High, but all of them seem to be safe physically, Balinas said. He knows a female substitute teacher who is not a member of First Baptist and was shot in the leg.
First Baptist Hitchcock has offered the use of its facility free of charge for funerals of shooting victims. Balinas is coordinating with other local pastors to organize a community prayer vigil.
First Baptist Church of Alta Loma in Santa Fe will hold a prayer service tonight at 7 p.m. and is making chaplains available to those wishing to talk or pray, according to a news release from the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT. Some students from First Baptist Alta Loma attend the school, but none have been reported among the dead or wounded.
Sagemont Church, about 10 miles away in Houston, has offered its facility for any funerals that will require a larger auditorium. Sagemont also has offered to donate graves in the church’s section of local Forest Lawn Cemetery for shooting victims.
“We want to reach out to the community and reflect the love of God to those that are hurting,” said Sagemont pastor John Morgan. “When one of us hurts, we all hurt. We’re going to have a special time of prayer on Sunday morning in all of our services.”
— by David Roach | BP