Richmond police follow leads in church shooting

By Karl Fischer
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 02/16/2010 01:22:57 PM PST

The outside world sees New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ as the place where hooded gunmen struck down two young parishioners during Sunday services.
But pastor Archie Levias sees something different within those white walls, under the red tile roof.

He sees the church where nobody died.

“They shot five times. Two people were hit, but nobody got killed,” Levias said Thursday, looking at the building on the corner of 21st Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Richmond. “God had his hand covered over this church.”

Police say three gunmen in hooded sweatshirts walked into the church about 12:30 p.m. and, after walking the aisles as if looking for someone, opened fire. There are a couple of holes in the wall. The carpet needs replacing.

But their work goes on and parishioners gathered again to give praise Tuesday night, as they had minutes after Sunday’s shooting.

With more than 100 people packed into the pews, pastors praised God for sparing the lives of the two shooting victims, asked for forgiveness and salvation for the shooters, and outlined an ambitious list of activities they hope will counteract the violence.

“Thank the Lord for another day,” Levias said.

This Saturday as many as 200 pastors, working with city leaders and the police department, will try to spread the message to city residents that they are stronger than ever.
On Feb. 28, the city’s many churches will display banners that read: “Never Again. Our voice, our city, our hope.” That day pastors plan to visit 10,000 homes in the area to talk about God and distribute Bibles.

Rest of story – here

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