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Phoenix church feels effects of Charleston shooting

Members of the Tanner Chapel AME Church in downtown Phoenix pray for victims of Charleston shooting.
Members of the church prayed for the victims of the Charleston shooting at a vigil Friday.

A local African Methodist episcopal church is feeling the ripple effects of the killing of nine people in bible study in Charleston, South Carolina this week.

Members are questioning how a young man could take the lives of people in a place they considered sacred and safe.

Church goers continue to pray for everyone effected by the recent shooting. That includes the alleged shooter himself, 21-year-old Dylann Roof.

"Black, white, yellow, brown, It does not matter," said one church member.

At the Tanner Chapel AME Church in downtown Phoenix, they're not letting the loss of life worsen racial tensions.

Still, Church goers are baffled, not only by the killing of nine people, but by the carnage in a place where people worship.

"When we're enjoying and praising the lord," asked Beverly Arrington, "are we going to need some policemen or security guards?"

Rev. Benjamin Thomas Jr. warns believers not to let this event shake their faith.

"We're always going to need prayer," said Rev. Thomas. "We're always going to need God in whatever situation. If we continue to seek Him, He'll be there for us."

In a time of need for comfort and guidance, support is coming up above and from all over the Valley.

"We're all brothers and sisters in Christ," said Gayle Allen. She isn't a member of the Tanner AME Church, but she attended a vigil to show her support.

"There are people of God out there," said Allen. "We don't look at the color of people's skin. We just love one another."

Yet, it may take some time for people to put the shooting behind them.

"If your mind is thinking about 'I'm going to be hurt' or 'is there someone in here that's going to cause me harm,' then that takes away from being in church and the purpose of being there," said Arrington.

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