A team of local Baptist church members and Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief chaplains is serving the community of Dadeville following a deadly mass shooting that happened late last night (April 15) at a 16th birthday party.
Currently, there are four confirmed fatalities and multiple injuries, according to a statement from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency around 8:15 Sunday morning. The investigation is ongoing. A number of unconfirmed news reports say the majority of victims are teenagers.
Ben Hayes — pastor of First Baptist Church Dadeville, a DR chaplain and chaplain for Dadeville police — was on the scene soon after the shooting.
A community ‘in shock’
“My heart is broken today,” he wrote on Facebook this morning. “I stood outside of Lake Martin Hospital until 3 a.m. watching hearts break as families learned that their child had been shot — or even worse, dead. I talked with parents, educators, students. My football players. Our pastors from First Baptist Church. No one knew what to say. Everyone was in shock. Police officers with looks of sadness on their faces. Nothing prepares you for this.”
He urged his church to stand in the gap for Dadeville.
“So, church, I need you to rise up and join me as we show our community that God is still in control. That He has the power to heal broken hearts and to change lives,” Hayes wrote.
Prayer vigil set for 5 p.m.
A prayer vigil is planned for tonight at 5 p.m. at FBC. Mark Wakefield, Alabama Baptist disaster relief strategist, said he was pulling together a team of DR chaplains from around the state to serve at the vigil in addition to the several members of FBC who are trained disaster relief chaplains.
Wakefield said FBC “will be doing everything it can to care for the community and first responders.”
“Everybody knows everybody, and for first responders, it’s an extremely taxing task when you know the victims or the families of the victims,” Wakefield said.
A call to pray
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, called Baptists across the state to pray in an April 16 Facebook post.
“Alabama Baptists, please pray with me for those in Dadeville who are suffering following a horrific shooting,” he wrote. “Pray for Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief chaplains who will minister. May God heal those who have survived and make His presence real to their families.”