Alexandria church holds prayer vigil for peace in wake of shooting

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — About two dozen people gathered for a prayer vigil for peace Wednesday night at an Alexandria church not far from the shooting of Republican members of Congress who were practicing for a charity baseball game.

The vigil at Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church included references to Psalm 120 and encouraged forgiveness.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who is also House GOP whip, is still in critical condition after the shooting early Wednesday. Scalise and three others were shot; the shooter later died from multiple gunshot wounds by police.

The FBI has identified the shooter as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois.

“That the man who died was the one who started the shooting should not lessen our compassion. What drove him — what drives any man — to the point of thinking the solution is death?” Rev. Christopher Esget, senior pastor, said.

Esget also spoke of how people today have become numb to things such as death and war.

“Isn’t this what pervades our culture — a cult, a culture of death? From our disregard for disabled children, to our callous attitude toward refugees, our embrace of the culture of suicide … the never-ending wars, all humanity is complicit in today’s shootings,” he said.

“I’m hoping that this will help us to come together as a community and realize that we can resolve our differences peacefully, that we need to live at peace with one another and not ever turn to violence. It’s always wrong,” Esget told WTOP.

“Our differences are much less than what binds us together — our common humanity.”

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