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Collierville community looks to heal broken hearts following tragedy

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 3:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the investigation continues into Thursday’s deadly mass shooting at Kroger in Collierville, six patients who remain in the hospital continue to improve.

A spokesperson for Regional One Health Medical Center said as of Sunday morning none of them were in critical condition.

But the road to recovery will be a long one for many in the Collierville community.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane described Thursday’s tragedy as the worst in his town’s history.

“We have broken hearts. No one wants to go into that scene I can promise you,” said Lane.

Police say a gunman, who they identified as 29-year-old Uk Thang, opened fire inside the store, shooting 15 innocent people, including Olivia King, a mother and grandmother, who died at the hospital a short time later.

“She never complained, no matter what was going on in her life. She loved her family. She loved her boys. She loved her husband,” said Maureen Fraser, the vice-mayor of Collierville and one of King’s friends.

Members of the community who are believers may wonder why God would let something like this happen.

“You know that’s one of the big questions of life,” said Matt Shackelford, the leading teaching pastor at Central Church in Collierville.

Shackelford said the Bible provides many examples of bad things happening.

“It’s Theology 101. We’re living in a world that’s under a curse. We saw that in the fall with Adam and Eve. All mankind fell and we now have darkened hearts,” said Shackelford. “That happened in Genesis, happened with Cain and Abel.”

Shackelford was on the scene shortly after the mass shooting.

“I watched people weeping. I and one other pastor on staff just wanted to be around our community to weep with them, to mourn with them, to grieve with them,” said Shackelford.

Shackelford said last Sunday before the tragedy, his church prayed for law enforcement and other leaders in the community, including Chief Lane.

“It was surreal. Four days later I was seeing all of them at the scene of the crime,” said Shackelford.

On Sunday, in his first service since the tragedy, he offered words of hope and healing to his community.

“In changing times we trust the God who is unchanging,” Shackelford said. “In perilous times we trust the God who is praiseworthy.”

While it will take more than words to understand and cope with a tragedy of this magnitude, for many it’s a start on the long road toward healing.

To watch Sunday’s sermon from Central Church visit https://fb.watch/8gAG5LELwG/

RELATED | GoFundMe created to support victims of Kroger mass shooting

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