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West Michigan community holds vigil for Las Vegas shooting victims

Posted at 9:14 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 22:36:02-04

RICHLAND, Mich. -- Vigils were held across the country Monday night to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. 

That included gatherings around West Michigan. The bell at First Presbyterian Church in Richland rang 59 times for the 59 people who lost their lives Sunday night in the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

"You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that it's just not supposed to be this way," said Pastor Mark Jennings.

Jennings says First Presbyterian Church is accustomed to opening its doors when tragedy strikes, giving people a place to gather as one.  This time, an invite went out on social media offering a place for people to pray as a group for the victims of the Vegas shooting and for the country as a whole.

"It's a tragedy," said Meredith Alspach, a community member who attended the vigil. "We've had so much happening lately with hurricanes and earthquakes and just devastation upon devastation upon devastation.  And now a senseless tragedy at the hands of another human, and it's beyond comprehension.  And I think people need a place to process, they need a place to be in solace. They need to pray."

A couple dozen people answered the call, gathering to light candles and reflect.

"These things have to stop," said Gary Courtney, who attended the vigil. "We as Christians need to band together and pray."