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CHARLOTTE, N.C., — Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are on the ground in Louisiana following the mass shooting at Lafayette’s Grand 16 movie theater. According to news reports, the gunman killed two people in the attack before taking his own life.
“Intense chaos and trauma follow a tragedy like this, not just for those who were in the theater facing a life-and-death struggle, but for the entire community,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “Our trained and experienced chaplains will minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of those traveling through the valley of grief and suffering. Please pray for everybody who has been devastated by this shooting.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was formed in the days following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since that time, the crisis-chaplaincy ministry has come alongside and supported survivors following more than 15 shooting-related tragedies, including the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and school shootings at Newtown, Conn., Virginia Tech University and Northern Illinois University.
“Shootings have a terror-filled and utterly hopeless nature to them,” said Munday. “Whereas you can often see a natural disaster brewing, there is no warning with a shooting. You have one individual who desires to do great harm to others. The immediacy of the situation, coupled with the debilitating fear it brings and the sudden loss of life, causes so much pain and angst across a wide spectrum of people.”
In addition to the response in Lafayette, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team currently has chaplains in Johnson County, Ky., following widespread flooding there.