Fort Worth Pastor Recalls How His Community Responded To A Shooting In Church

In 1999, a gunman killed six people at Wedgwood Baptist Church, where Al Meredith was pastor.

By Krys Boyd & Laura RiceNovember 7, 2017 12:01 pm

Krys Boyd, host of Dallas public radio station KERA’s daily call-in show, Think, interviewed Pastor Al Meredith about the shooting that occurred at Wedgwood Baptist Church, where he was pastor, in 1999. Seven people, including the gunman, lost their lives.

Meredith says he was not leading the service on the day of the shooting, but arrived a few minutes after it happened.

“It looked like a beehive,” he says. “It seemed like half a dozen helicopters flying over – every kind of police officer car, EMTs and just chaos.”

The shooting came a few days after Meredith had officiated at his mother’s funeral in Michigan.

“God was so good to us in this,” he says. “Because literally the weekend before, my sisters and I sang my mother into heaven…I was numb, emotionally. And that was God’s way of anesthetizing my spirit.”

Meredith says when he got to the church, he was able to focus on organizing people and keeping them safe.

Like this week’s tragedy, the Wedgwood shooting brought an outpouring of media attention.

“We were inundated,” he says. “For two blocks in any direction around the church for the next two weeks, satellite trucks from all over the world.”

Meredith says Wedgwood, which isn’t easy to find, used the attention to further its mission.

“It was an opportunity in the midst of our unspeakable sorrow to show a watching world that Christ does make a difference,” he says.

Among Meredith’s first decisions in the aftermath of the shooting at Wedgwood was whether to hold services the following week.

“Some people just didn’t want to go back,” Meredith says, “and we said ‘that’s fine.’ But this is light versus darkness, and we’re not going to let the darkness win. We’re meeting on Sunday.”

That service attracted 2,200 people, 700 more than on a typical Sunday.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.