Saddleback Church members are comforting those who are grieving following a mass shooting at a bar near the church’s main campus that left four people dead, including the suspected gunman.
Known as Cook’s Corner, the Trabuco Canyon bar was the site of a mass shooting Wednesday night and is within a few miles away from the Lake Forest campus of Saddleback.
Saddleback Pastor Andy Wood explained in emailed comments to The Christian Post that he met with local law enforcement and they “set up a base camp at our Lake Forest campus” while church members “went to the hospital to minister to families,” including the family of one of the victims.
“This is a tragic event that has left our community heartbroken and dismayed,” said Wood, adding that “the one word that I experienced amongst all of them was heartbreak.”
“We are grateful for our local law enforcement and their quick response which saved many more lives. Now the work of comfort and the long journey of healing begins. And that’s where the church comes in.”
Wood believes the Church needs “to practice the ministry of presence right now,” noting that believers “don’t need to have answers or say anything profound” at this point, instead “we just need to show up and sit with people who are hurting.”
“The Bible teaches us that God draws near to the brokenhearted, so in times like this, we draw near to God, because he promises to draw near to us,” he continued. “Prayer is our first response, not our last resort.”
In keeping with the importance of prayer, Saddleback is scheduled to host a community prayer vigil on Friday evening at their Lake Forest campus and the surrounding community is invited.
“We invite anyone and everyone to join us in prayer for the family and friends that have been devastated by this tragedy, for the first responders and medical staff, and for healing in our community,” Wood told CP.
“Saddleback Church is committed to continue to do the same thing we’ve always done since launching in 1980, serve people in pain,” he continued. “We are committed to walking with people for the long haul and will be with them in the weeks, months, and years to come.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that they identified 59-year-old John Snowling of Ohio, a retired officer with the Ventura Police Department, who had served from 1986-2014, as the suspected shooter.
According to authorities, a preliminary investigation indicated that Snowling allegedly drove from Ohio to California “to target his wife over a domestic dispute,” having brought multiple firearms with him.
“The suspect fired multiple rounds at the deputies with at least one round going through the windshield of a patrol unit,” reported the sheriff’s office. “A deputy-involved shooting involving multiple deputies occurred, and the suspect was later pronounced deceased at the scene.”
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