Prayers for victims on first Sunday following West Memphis shootout

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - Church congregations in West Memphis, Arkansas came together to pray for the victims and families on the first Sunday since the fatal shootings.

At a Church of Christ worship service, the sign outside the sanctuary expressed emotions many in West Memphis have been feeling since police officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were killed and Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Deputy W.A. Wren were wounded.

"We are like family," said church member Loretta Dale, "and we feel the hurt and the pain that these families are feeling."

Down the street at First Baptist Church, church members felt similar emotions.

"It was sort of like the feeling when 9/11 happened," said church member Butch Wright.  "You have a lot of different emotions that happen to you, you just really feel bad."

Chief Bob Paudert, father of one of the policeman killed, attends First Baptist Church.  Members said the church's ministerial staff has been ministering to the family.

"We don't understand why things like this happen," said church member Thomas Johnson, "but I think we have to have faith in our Lord to see us through it and I believe he will."

At services throughout the city, prayers were being said for the victims and the suspects accused of committing the violent acts.

"We feel for all of them because there's just a higher purpose to our lives," Dale said.  "I think that's why, as a small community, we come together.  We feel the pain, we want to help each other."

Church members said the only thing they know to do is depend on their faith.

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