CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After 26 people were shot and killed inside a Baptist church in South Texas, with the youngest victim only 5 years old, Channel 9 reporter Stephanie Tinoco spoke with local pastors who have heavy hearts over the tragedy.
Local pastors said they don't want members of their churches to be fearful to come to services, but plan on having conversations about ways they can be proactive during this tragic time.
"My heart breaks for them,” said David Jordan, pastor at Providence Baptist Church. “All of us are united in shock and sadness wanting to help in some way.”
A gunman began shooting Sunday morning at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
"It's the worst mass shooting at a church in American history,” said Benjamin Boswell, pastor at Myers Park Baptist Church.
This is the third mass shooting at a church in the United States in just two years.
Pastors at area Baptist churches said solidarity messages of heartbreak on social media are simply not enough.
"We have to go beyond prayer now,” Boswell said.
Pastors said proactive measures need to be taken to prevent another tragedy.
"We have to stand up,” Boswell said. “We have to work together. We have to advocate and we have to speak out against gun violence."
"Automatic weapons is the first place we start,” Jordan said.
Channel 9 asked the pastors if they were comfortable or open to the idea of members carrying guns at church.
They said people have brought up the idea in the past, but they want to have a gun-free zone.