From Texas Public Radio:
On a field that’s normally the sight of Friday night football games, family members of Sutherland Springs shooting victims were embraced by music, and words of support from Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“And even though anguish and sorrow hang over the community,” he said. “We will not be overcome with evil. Together we will overcome evil with good.”
Pence recounted the lives of those killed Sunday at First Baptist Church.
“Among them Haley Kruger, who even though just 16 years of age, already knew she wanted to be a neonatal nurse and care for the most vulnerable in society,” he said. “Shani and Robert Corrigan — a 30-year veteran of the United States Air Force.”
The stands were full, at least 2,000 people came to pay their respects. Many from Wilson County; others from San Antonio. Some lifted their hands in prayer and hugged one another.
“We’re a small community first but the most important thing is we’re family,” said Karla Sikkema’s from Floresville, whose son had just passed away a year ago. “You can’t even go to our local grocery store because an employee there … is no longer so it’s affected our community throughout.”
Sikkema is an trauma nurse in the intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. She’s taken care of eight of those injured in Sutherland Springs.
“They’re strong; they’re survivors; they’re prayerful,” she said. “It’s incredible but at the same time to see the victims still feeling that they’re right there and that it’s happening all over again; it’s scary.”
She said her two 7-year-old daughters lost a friend from their second-grade class. It’s a difficult conversation she never thought she’d have but she tells her girls their friend is with God.
“Because we’re Christians, we know that there’s a heaven and that we know that at some point in time we’re all going to go to see Jesus,” she said.
There’s been a prayer vigil every night since Sunday, when more than 10 percent of tiny Sutherland Springs’s population was either killed or injured. Shirley Filoteo is one of the roughly 400 people who live there and said she’s been to three vigils so far.
“Our community still needs to be healed,” she said.
Filoteo lives a half mile from the church and says the shooting has left a massive hole in town’s heart.
“Something like that — so evil — happened to so many good people that were worshiping God. You can’t get more evil than that,” she said.