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'757 United Prayer Vigil' honors Walmart shooting victims and loved ones

The Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors hosted the prayer vigil to honor and support victims of the deadly shooting and their families Sunday night.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — On Sunday, the 757 United Prayer Vigil took place at the Mount Chesapeake. 

The Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors hosted the service in honor of the victims of the deadly Walmart mass shooting and their families. 

Police said a Walmart team leader killed six people and injured others inside the store off Battlefield Boulevard. 

Chesapeake city officials identified the six victims who were killed as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randy Blevins, Tyneka Johnson and Fernando Chavez-Barron.   

Members with Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors said the prayer service is just one way the community came together to mourn, but also to honor the lives lost from the shooting.

Songs of worship and prayers filled the The Mount Chesapeake sanctuary Sunday night. Several speakers from pastors to lawmakers shared remarks to family, friends and the public about the tragedy's impact on the community.   

“We are reminded that prayer is precious, but prayer is powerful," said Andrea Roby, pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church.  

Many people from the community attended the unity prayer with hopes of finding solace in others who share similar feelings.  

“I can't express the sadness and the emptiness that we feel," said Mary Bibbs, of Chesapeake. 

Bibbs said she came to find peace, but she also wants to share her heartbreak with the community.

"That Walmart was only five minutes from my house. They kind of became my extended family. Most of them I knew, [and] I talked to almost every day, including the shooter," said Bibbs. 

Congressman Bobby Scott spoke about the loss in his community, too. 

"As we mourn 600 other mass shootings in America just this year alone, where communities are also grappling with loss, Chesapeake now joins the list of all too many communities forced to bare the unbearable, "said Scott. 

People from across the country attended, including Dan Beazley from Michigan. 

Beazley traveled to the event with a large cross, which he said he takes with him to community hit by tragedy as a sign of support for families. 

“It's been in 17 states since May," said Beazley. 

Before the service ended, relatives and friends lit candles for the six people who died. Many Walmart employees also gathered for a prayer to mourn, honor and seek healing.

There will be another opportunity for the public to honor the victims of the mass shooting. 

On Monday, November 28 at 5 p.m., Chesapeake City Council is calling a special meeting to confirm an emergency declaration. This step would free up money to support the families and things like recovery efforts or overtime for first responders.

Following that meeting, city leaders are inviting the community to come together. They will host a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims at 6 p.m. at Chesapeake City Park.

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