DHS issues FBO Report on Targeted Violence before Church of Christ Shooting

Advisory

December 29, 2019
Phoenix,  AZ
TLP-WHITE for broad public release

DHS issues FBO Report on Targeted Violence before Church of Christ Shooting

“Preventing Targeted Violence Against Faith-based Organizations”

 


Aware 

According to multiple open source media reports, on Sunday, December 29, 2019, at approximately 11:30am (CST), a gunman reportedly opened fire inside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, two people dead, including the shooter, and a third person injured. Based on a livestream video of the church services (which has been taken down), the gunman stood up during services and opened fire with what was described as a rifle or shotgun. The person who shot the suspect is being identified as a former FBI agent, as well as a member of the church security team.

CEN National Safety Security Officer Darryl Walker advises, there is currently no information to suggest an ongoing threat to the U.S. Christian community, as it relates to this event. He went on to say: “This underscores why the Church needs to be aware and ready to respond with teams and plans in place, just as West Freeway Church responded today. More lives could have been lost without their security team being ready. Every church in the U.S. needs to have trained individuals, as referred to in Nehemiah 4:16: “keeping the watch.”, over the flock. CEN offers training, and support for Church Safety and Security teams. For more information, go to “Getting Started.” 

CEN Founder and President Mary Marr, Co-Chair of the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Subcommittee “Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-based Organizations,” said: “ This incident reflects why for the past year national faith leaders have come together to address the rise in attacks against our houses of worship. We have visited sites of past incidents in which heart-breaking loss of life and property occurred. We have listened to the stories from survivors and law enforcement and carefully examined best practices for the faith community to prevent future incidents. And, based upon this research, we have made strategic recommendations to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on December 17, which we strongly believe if implemented immediately, will save lives. The recommendations call for one point of contact within DHS designated for the faith community to address their unique concerns and navigate through all the federal agencies to proactively put into place measures to prevent attacks such as Sutherland Springs, Texas Baptist Church where 26 perished or the six churches in Louisiana threatened or three burned to the ground this year. The recommendations call for improving two way timely actionable information sharing between law enforcement and  faith communites; conducting standard joint training and exercises; and proactively addressing the rise of domestic terrorism in all forms in the U.S.” Read Full Report:  DHS Preventing Targeted Violence Against Faith Communities Report

“In addition, to support these recommendations on December 19 the U.S. Senate passed a $1.37 trillion spending bill related to security. While the bill largely focuses upon the annual $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel and $30 million allocated to boost reconciliation programs for Israelis and Palestinians, it also included improving security related to U.S. houses of worship. The bill consisted of $90 million for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) that seeks to protect nonprofit institutions, including churches and Christian facilities. This marked a 50 percent increase over last year’s $60 million funding. The NSGP provides grants of up to $100,000 each to nonprofits at risk of domestic terror attacks to improve building security such as fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Funding may also be used to train staff or pay for contracted security personnel.”

Marr stated: “ By joining with the CEN you will stay informed on developments which directly affect the Christian community and learn how to prepare your congregation in these uncertain times. The CEN ReadyChurch training will help you develop a church security team, assess your local threats and risks like the one today in Texas, and put security plans in place and will give you access to CEN’s Leadership online training (coming soon) on how to apply for church security grants. ” Join CEN.” 

Ready

ReadyChristian - securing your family and neighborhood
ReadyChurch - securing your congregation
ReadyCity - securing your Christian community at large
Church Safety Security 101 


There  


Pray

  • Be THERE by interceding for the victims and their families, law enforcement, and first responders to find comfort and strength in God. Pray for physical wounds and invisible wounds. Psalm 73:26
  • Be THERE by interceding for the healing of West Freeway COC and the White Settlement community. Pray for long term support. Pray for sleep for those traumatized by the shooting. Psalm 34:18
  • Be THERE by interceding for DHS and Congress to take the appropriate steps to support the faith community as a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure. Intercede for faith leaders to work more effectively in protecting worshipers and faith communities. Psalm 133:1

Care

  • Be THERE by listening to someone you know who was affected by the shooting. Ask if you can pray with them.
  • Be THERE by reaching out to those you know in the area and offer words of encouragement.
  • Be THERE by telling your pastor you will help to lead the ReadyChurch team as a support in equipping your church to be prepared for any crisis, small or large.  

Share

  • By offering your personal story of recovery from loss, overcoming adversity or any personal testimony of how hope and faith in God became your lifeline in a time of crisis.
  • By offering a “PRAYER” when you see a first responder who seldom receive encouragement for putting their lives on the line each day when you see them on the street!


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