VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. —The Virginia Beach community continues to lean on each other in the wake of tragedy.
Sunday evening Grace Bible Church came together in prayer for everyone who has have been affected by the horrific municipal center shooting.
“These type of incidents can draw families closer or they can tear families apart,” said Rose Simmons.
Rose Simmons knows all too well about horrifying tragedy, her father was one of nine people gunned down during a bible study in a Charleston church almost four years ago.
“When fear is overwhelming that’s when we know if courage is our friend,” Simmons said on stage.
Sunday Simmons offered her words of encouragement to everyone at Grace Bible Church.
“Seeing that someone else cares and seeing that someone else is praying for their family and concerned about the pain and hurt that they have… that will bring strength to every family that was impacted by this event,” says Bishop Darrin C. Johnson.
Bishop Ezekiel Williams is one of those people impacted. He says he went to high school and was friends with Ryan Keith Cox. and admires how Cox gave his life to help guide his co-workers to safety during the shooting.
“One of those individuals in the room, Tara McGee— she’s a member of our church, she’s one of the clergy in our church and her life was spared because of him,” says Williams in speaking about Cox’s bravery.
Williams says he remembers Cox “as a very kind individual, funny guy, jovial, but the most amazing thing about him was that incredible voice.”
Bishop Johnson says the vigil should not be seen as the end, but the being of creating a stronger community.
“We’re going to continue to pray for every family.. It’s a life long journey that they are going to have to endure and so we’re going to have to continue for the days to come, the months to come and the years to come, we will keep them in our prayers,” he says.