Following is a statement from Richland County Council Chairwoman Joyce Dickerson, on behalf of County Council, in reference to the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting incident.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting tragedy that occurred Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. As leaders of Richland County, we extend our condolences to members of the town, as well as all of Wilson County, Texas, for we know the ripple effect of a tragedy of this sort does not stop at municipal borders. We also express deep gratitude to first responders on the ground whose courage and professionalism saved lives. Their actions, as well as those of brave civilians, prevented a horrible tragedy from being worse.
A sudden and senseless loss of this sort is beyond comprehension. As South Carolinians who confronted the aftermath of the horrific killings at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015, we know all too well the pain and heartbreak such incidents inflict.
As in Charleston, the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs disrupted the feeling of peace that believers of all faiths are entitled when entering their chosen places of worship. We embrace the members of First Baptist and the residents of Sutherland Springs whose town joins a growing list of communities, including Las Vegas, Orlando and, of course, Charleston, that have suffered from these unconscionable acts of violence.
The County has ordered flags in front of all County-owned buildings be flown at half-staff until sunset Thursday, in honor and in remembrance of the people killed and injured in the Sutherland Springs mass shooting.