Church holds vigil after funeral shooting

April 28, 2010 7:39:33 PM PDT
In Oakland, clergy, community leaders, and ordinary residents are gathering at an East Oakland church. Enough is enough, they say, after a shooting took place at a funeral for a teen shot and killed on his 18th birthday.

Because of the violence at the church on Tuesday, the family was unable to bury their loved one until Wednesday. The peace walk was planned to go through the neighborhood leading back to the church for a vigil, praying for an end to the violence.

"I just think it was utterly insane," said Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid.

Reid is absolutely appalled by the gunfire that erupted on Tuesday afternoon inside the Cosmopolitan Baptist Church.

Hundreds of mourners had gathered for the funeral of a young man killed a week ago at his 18th birthday party.

No one was hit by bullets in Tuesday's melee, but five people were arrested and police were forced to declare a citywide emergency to restore order.

It's the second time this year gunfire has turned a house of worship into a crime scene.

In Richmond on Valentine's Sunday, New Gethsemane Church was hit with a brazen shooting. Amateur video shows the choir singing, then ducking for cover when shots were fired at two teenage brothers sitting in the pews.

"Churches were off limits, but with the young adults we have living in our society today, some of them have no sense of value for their own life and certainly they don't have any sense of value for your life or my life and certainly the sanctity of the church it's almost irrelevant to them. There are too many people with guns in their hands that are not afraid to use them," said Reid. When asked if he thought the rallies and marches would reach those young people, he said, "No, I don't think they reach those young people that need to be reached."

Reid says there are programs such as Youth Uprising that try to help these kids change their lives. He says Wednesday night's event is to let the church congregation and the neighborhood know that they have not been abandoned, they're not alone, and that someone cares.

Oakland police say they identified two groups involved in Tuesday's shooting, but they have not yet found the shooter. Patrols at the church have been stepped up.


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