Church Hosts Community Vigil in Wake of Last Week's Shootings

People are still hurting, and there are many unanswered questions: That was the message Monday night at a local vigil following last week's shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas.

People gathered at the Bridge Christian Church in Schenectady to pray for Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the five Dallas police officers who were killed during a rally. Clergy members also prayed for the future and safety of the country.

"I just felt like it was my duty to come and pray with everyone for the ones who lost their lives," said attendee Lacrisa Bracey.

Later in the service, a Schenectady police officer addressed the officer-involved shootings. Sergeant Ryan Macherone says he felt nervous and anxious attending a weekend basketball game, hosted by a league he's participated in with area children for the past three years.

"That night, I went home, and all my thoughts went to a community and police basketball league," Macherone said.

Despite the distrust that's developed from the shootings of the black men, several children still came out to play in the basketball league.

"There are no winners when someone loses their life," Macherone said. "There's no one that should ever come out of that feeling good. There's a lot of hurt that goes all the way around when stuff like that happens."

Improving police-community relations is an area the Schenectady Police Department says it plans to work on.

"It's a start," attendee Lacrisa Bracey said. "We're not there yet, but we're getting there. If we continue to do what we're doing, we will succeed."

The community conversation will continue at an event being held by Black Lives Matter on July 13 at 7 p.m. at the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Schenectady.

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