Worshipers turn to church after Fort Hood shooting

Candles at First United Methodist Church in Killeen to remember those killed at Fort Hood. (Kevin Schwaller)
Candles at First United Methodist Church in Killeen to remember those killed at Fort Hood. (Kevin Schwaller)

KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) — Some members of the community around Fort Hood are coping with last week’s shooting by turning to their church.

Flags line the entrance of the First United Methodist Church of Killeen. Four ribbons hang on the front sign. Each ribbon represents one of the dead, including the shooter.

Rev. Jeff Miller, senior pastor of the church, lit four candles at the beginning of the service Sunday and a bell rang four times.

“A lot of people, they can’t believe what’s going on and what happened,” said Gene Del Rosario, a member of the church and U.S. Army veteran.

“When we’re in the midst of suffering or tragedy. We end up having really more questions than answers,” said Miller during the service Sunday.

Veterans and active-duty military members attend the church along with civilians.

“(I’m looking for) comfort. Some comfort. Some ease. What God’s plan was? Why this happened? How we can give grace to those who need healing,” said J.T. Bowyer, a retired officer with the U.S. Army.

Iris Bowyer, J.T.’s wife, says she teaches at Fort Hood.

“The children are scared,” Iris said. “They’re needing extra comfort right now and support. And we’re working really hard to give them that comfort and support and support one another.”

“Our church supports everything,” said Del Rosario.

Rev. Miller says the church also gathered on Wednesday night. That’s when some family members of those at Fort Hood were still waiting to see if their loved ones were okay.

“Because Killeen has had events like this, unfortunately there have been other events like this…  this community realizes that the tragedy is not the last word,” Miller said.

Fort Hood also plans to have a memorial service Wednesday.

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