MOULTRIE – Tears fell and hearts were comforted as residents gathered on the Colquitt County Courthouse Square to mourn the four lives lost following Thursday’s fatal shootings.
Participants filled the Courthouse Square amphitheater seeking comfort and understanding in response to the recent violence. The public prayer gathering was held by a local ministers group known as the Mission Moultrie Pastors Fellowship.
Pastor John Eubanks, representing Friendship Alliance Church, led the program declaring the evening as a time to reflect and accept the heart of God.
“God loves every soul and every family in this city. We come to mourn with those who mourn. To weep with those who weep. The Marshall family and the Smith family, our hearts go out to you. Our emotions are raw and we want to cry out to God,” Eubanks said.
He gave a brief time for the congregation of about 100 people to greet each other and offered an open commentary segment for attendees.
One Moultrie resident said, “We might not understand this but God is faithful. He was faithful before this and he will be faithful for eternity.”
During the service, several ministers recited prayers asking for unity and protection for those who were affected by the violence.
The Rev. Richard Wright, the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Moultrie, prayed for healing in those who are grieving and have experienced trauma.
“As we pray for these people, help us not to rush through these horrors and become numb to the violence across our nation, especially in our city and county,” he said.
Eubanks returned to the stage with a short moment of silence for Susie Arnold, 50, Hilda Marshall, 74, Amia Smith, 41, and Kentavious White, 26.
Mayor William “Bill” McIntosh offered regards and spoke to the crowd following a short worship session in the commemoration.
“I’ve been here all my life. Moultrie-Colquitt County is a great community. We have our problems and tragedies but we’re going to continue being a great community. We just ask the Lord to give us healing and comfort for those families involved and our community,” he said.
Other ministers presented prayers for first responders and their families, those who struggle with mental illness and against the spirit of murder and suicide prior to the ceremony’s closure.
Various community leaders were in attendance at the gathering including Georgia Pines clinical co-responder Julio Ginel, Lynn Wilson of NAMI, outgoing Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce President Tommie Beth Willis and Moultrie Police Department Chief Sean Ladson.