OVERLAND, Mo. — In St. Louis, many are turning to prayer tonight in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School by an 18-year-old gunman on Tuesday.
The Church of Christ in Overland, Missouri opened its doors Wednesday night for people to pray and heal side by side together.
“To hear these innocent children and their lives being taken from them is very difficult,” said Minister Ed Bialon.
He was at the church when he heard about the shooting and immediately acted and spoke to their sister church, the Uvalde Church of Christ
“It didn’t take me very long to get on the phone to call down there and ask them, ‘What can we do?’ Of course, prayer was always the number one thing. But I said, ‘I want to do more,’” Bialon said. “It’s a community like ours here in Overland it’s about 16,000 and it’s a very tight-knit community, so they’re really struggling right now.”
Some of those 21 victims have been identified. Ten-year-old Xavier Lopez’s family says he was looking forward to swimming this summer. His cousin says he was a bubbly soul who loved to dance.
Naveah Bravo’s family calls her a beautiful soul who did not deserve to lose her life so young. Teacher Eva Mirales, 44, is also remembered as a hero.
“She had laughter that was absolutely contagious and really treated everyone with so much light and love,” said a family member.
Parishioner Melissa Wilfong is a substitute teacher, so this shooting rocked her to her core.
“When I go to these schools, I get to have fun with these kids and just can’t imagine how it had to take those teachers off-guard, just completely off-guard. It made me sick,” Wilfong said.
Minister Bialon hopes to share the bigger message, that the Saint Louis community stands with Uvalde, even hundreds of miles away.
“We are with them through thick and thin, and we will make sure that we all get through this,” Bialon said.
Uvalde Church of Christ said donations can be made to First State Bank of Uvalde.
You can send those donations to this address:
200 E. Nopal
Uvalde, TX 78801