As they strolled Homestead Road Sunday night during Good Samaritan United Methodist Church’s candlelight vigil people sang songs and reflected on the Wednesday that began at Lehigh Cement plant, the church said.
“People just sort of soaked it in,” said Mark Teagle, director of music at the church.
More than 50 people, many youth members, walked from the church on Homestead Road to the Hewlett-Packard driveway where —the alleged gunman in the shootings—shot a woman as he attempted to carjack her car.
“We wanted to send a message that there is something stronger than fear, and that’s love,” Teagle said.
The church membership includes a “handful of Hewlett-Packard” employees and a few families who live in the neighborhood where Allman eluded police for almost 24 hours.
Allman is the disgruntled employee who shot and killed three Lehigh employees and wounded six others in addition to the woman in the HP parking lot—who is a contract worker for HP—before he disappeared into a Sunnyvale neighborhood that was then surrounded by multiple law enforcement agencies and heavily armed SWAT teams.
At the vigil they said a special prayer for the victims’ families and for the community that stood in fear while police hunted for Allman.
Good Samaritan is across the street from where Allman abandoned his car.
“As the church closest to where the (events) took place we felt it was our responsibility to stand up and make ourselves available,” Teagle said.
In the interest of safety, he said the church closed its preschool Wednesday and sent employees home.
“It was a little frightening. At one point in the day having a prayer group inside the chapel while (Allman) was going by—in retrospect we didn’t know it,” he said.
It is fear that Teagle says the church wants to smother.
“This was a reminder for us. Coming from a Christian perspective there are things stronger than fear,” he said.
The thought that people were stuck in their homes while a killer ran loose and their backyards were being searched could have been terrifying for some.
“(The fear) was palpable in this neighborhood. It kind of pointed out how fragile life is,” he said.
Pastors and other church staff will make themselves available for counseling to anyone in the community should they feel the need to talk. If the counseling is beyond what the church can administer, Teagle says they will refer people to an appropriate caregiver.