Faith leaders will be meeting at the New Gethsemane Church of God In Christ in Richmond at 7 p.m. tonight to introduce a strategic response to the shooting at the church Sunday afternoon that injured two brothers, Bishop Jerry Macklin said.
Macklin, who is the jurisdictional bishop for the Church of God In Christ in Northern California and the minister at Glad Tidings Church in Hayward, is organizing the response along with faith leaders in Richmond. The shooting happened at about 12:30 p.m. at the New Gethsemane Church of God In Christ at 2100 Roosevelt Ave., Richmond police Sgt. Bisa French said.
Three men in black hooded sweatshirts entered the church and shot a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man in front of about 100 people attending the service. The two victims, one of whom was shot in the shoulder and the other in the leg, are expected to survive their injuries. French said the only description investigators have for the shooters is that they are black males wearing black hooded sweatshirts. One of the suspects had shoulder length dreadlocks with reddish tips. As of this afternoon, no arrests had been made, French said. Macklin said he expects a minimum of about 5,000 people to participate in the faith community’s multi-tiered response to the shooting. Rev. Andre Shumake, president of the Richmond Improvement Association, said people will be walking through neighborhoods in Richmond, knocking on residents’ doors and offering to help in any way they can. On March 6, there will be a large gathering in the parking lot of the New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ, where faith leaders plan to feed the entire neighborhood, Shumake said. Macklin said, “Obviously it was a tragedy to have people cross that line and violate that sanctuary.” But at the same time, he said, the shooting has provided an
opportunity for faith leaders to come together and reach out to young people. He said he hopes to be able to show young people that there are better ways to deal with their pain than violence. Shumake echoed the sentiment, saying, “We’re trying to reach out to them and let them know that we’re still here.” Police so far do not believe the shooting at the church is linked
to a shooting last Wednesday of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend as they were sitting in a car parked in front of a residence in 900 block of Seventh Street in the city’s Iron Triangle neighborhood. Sharanda Thomas, 23, who was about six months pregnant, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her boyfriend was taken to a local trauma center and is expected to survive. The suspects were described as four black males in a silver or gray Chevrolet HHR. As of this afternoon, no suspects had been identified, French said, but police are looking into the possibility that the shooting could be linked to a Feb. 7 shooting outside a nightclub in San Francisco where one man was killed and three others were injured. A suspect in that shooting was also shot and injured by a patrol special officer contracted by the club to help safeguard the area. According to French, one of the people involved in the San Francisco shooting was from the same neighborhood as the man who was shot
Wednesday. Tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting at the New Gethsemane Church of God In Christ will be followed by a second meeting at the church at 10 a.m. Saturday.
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