Prayers, support for Dallas

Published 11:30 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh


Stay vigilant was a term heard often Friday morning as people gathered for a moment of silence and prayer for the officers killed or injured during the Thursday evening incident in Dallas.

Members of the Bridge City and Pinehurst Police Departments as well as from Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinehurst City Council, Mayor, city staff and residents gathered for prayer and a moment of silence to honor the fallen officers.

Five officers were killed and seven injured during a sniper attack.

Councilwoman Sarah McClendon was unable to attend the event due to observing a moment of silence at the facility where she is employed.

“I think it is marvelous and wonderful foe doing this today,” Mayor Pro-Tem John D. Zerko said. “I thank the police across the world for the sacrifices they make. We at Pinehurst back them 100 percent.”

Taking a moment to reflect and honor is an event more would like to see happen more often.

“In light of recent events, we need more of this,” Councilman T.W. Permenter said. “What happened in Dallas is terrible. We are appreciative of law enforcement.”

Taking time to pray was one way to show support according to Councilman Dan Mohon.

“The least we can do is show up and pray, mostly pray,” Mohon said. “It could happen here.”

The concern of such an incident happening again has many concerned.

Chief of Police Fred R. Hanauer III has been with the city of Pinehurst for 13 years, eight of which he has served as chief.

“1,439 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty over the last 10 years,” Hanauer said. “That is one every 60 hours. Last night was five. Not since 9/11 has law enforcement seen such a loss. There is nothing amusing about last night. Those officers ran towards danger to protect those who despise them.”

Pinehurst Mayor Joseph L. “Pete” Runnels said such events are happening all too frequently.

“We are calling for senseless crimes to stop,” Runnels said.

Governor Greg Abbott lit the Texas Governor’s Mansion in blue Friday evening in honor of the fallen law enforcement officers killed in the attack on Dallas police Thursday. The Governor’s Mansion will remain lit for five nights, one night for each of the fallen officers.

“The killing needs to stop. All of it. None of these shootings were justified – not the shootings by the police, not the shootings of the police,” Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark said. “The Libertarian Party denounces all killing. No American should feel they’ve invited violence upon themselves because of their skin color, the uniform they wear in service to their communities, or their decision to exercise their Second Amendment rights. None of these factors should make you a target for murder in this country.”

Out of concern of the growing violence across the county, Pastor Demetrius Moffett announced a Town Hall Meeting 7 p.m. July 28 at Orange Church of God, 1907 North 16th Street in Orange.

“I have placed a call to the police chief,” Moffett said. “My primary position is that of clergy. Unity nor unification will happen until we become a unit.”

The theme for the meeting is Proactive Processes to Protect Prosperity.

“My heart goes out to the victims’ families and their loved ones. I have directed my office to provide all necessary resources to support the efforts of law enforcement to investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those responsible for last night’s horrific attack,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “The loss of the five officers in Dallas in the line of duty is a somber reminder of the heroic sacrifices these brave men and women perform each day to keep us safe. Today, we must all come together to honor their selfless service and sacrifice.”

“I’m heartbroken by the news out of Dallas,” U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady said. “That anyone would take a moment where Americans joined together in peace to savagely attack those who have sworn to protect and serve is just sickening. Our prayers are with the officers, their families and all Texans who believe in the sanctity of life and who are grieving today with our men and women in blue.”

While initial reports claimed multiple persons involved in the attack against law enforcement officers, investigators are now saying Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, acted alone.

Johnson is a veteran who served in Afghanistan.

The Thursday protest in Dallas was in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

“We have opened a civil rights investigation in Louisiana and we are providing assistance to local authorities in Minnesota who are leading the investigation there,” Attoney General Loretta E. Lynch said on Friday. “Today, we are feeling the devastating loss of Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson and four other fallen officers whose names remain unreleased as we await notification of all the families.  After the events of this week, Americans across the county are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear.  These feelings are understandable and they are justified.  But the answer must not be violence.  The answer is never violence.”