It was a sight no one ever wants to see – crime tape at a church. Two victims were shot in the parking lot of St. Alphonsus Church in Fresno, and 23 people were killed at a church in Texas. Both events occurred on Sunday.
Fr. Dominic Savio Rajappa is a priest at St. Alphonsus. He recalled the shooting on Monday.
“Suddenly we heard the shootings at the back of the church at the parking lot so people were shocked to see what is happening,” stated Rajappa.
Rajappa had just finished Sunday mass when the shooting occurred. He said though police have determined it was an isolated incident, it still has his staff talking about security measures. St. Alphonsus does not have a security guard, but Rajappa said it’s something the Catholic Diocese of Fresno may consider.
Jim Franklin is the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Downtown Fresno. He said, “It’s unfortunate that in churches now, that we have to think about security. But it is something that we have seen for the last several years.”
Franklin said church goers may especially be nervous, but they shouldn’t let that fear stop them from attending church.
“A church is where, is a place where people go to feel safe. But, unfortunately we see tragedies happen at house of worship,” stated Franklin.
Code 3 Security CEO Mike Manzie said he suspects more churches will hire security guards to be a visual deterrent to criminals.
He commented, “We can’t remain a static target. We have to move soon as we hear something. So that’s one of the things we do with churches, we teach situational awareness, okay, and we teach intuition.”
Manzie advises people in large crowds or small spaces to know where to go in case of an emergency.
“If you’re in an active shooter situation, you want to look at the space to escpae to. You want to know if you’re sitting in a house of worship, where are the exits,” ended Manzie.