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Wedgwood shooting brings back deep hurt at Daingerfield church

DANGERFIELD, Texas (BP)–The tragic shooting that left eight dead and seven wounded at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, last week plowed through almost 20 years of time to unearth a deep, abiding hurt that had been buried just below the surface of the lives of many of the members of First Baptist Church in Daingerfield.
Five were killed when Alvin Lee King III, a former Daingerfield High School mathematics teacher, burst through the sanctuary doors clad in army fatigues and a steel helmet. Church members wrestled King to the ground almost immediately, but deadly rounds already had been fired, and two men were killed during the struggle to get King out of the building. King also managed to shoot himself but was not killed. He later hanged himself in a county jail in 1982 while awaiting trial.
Daingerfield Pastor John Stone said all of that came immediately to mind for many of his members when they heard the news about Wedgwood.
“I have had a few call, but others have turned inward,” Stone said. “Many have asked that I try to get word to the pastor at Wedgwood that in time God will restore.”
The memories in Daingerfield are not only of that tragic Sunday morning, but also of the days following when God became especially real to those left hurting, he said.
“As painful as it is to remember, it is also something you don’t want to forget, because if you do you also forget the faithfulness of God to his people,” Stone said.
“The Scripture is true: ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.’ Today it is hard for them to remember that, as it was for us 20 years ago, but God’s word is true.”
Stone’s sermon the Sunday after the Wedgwood shootings was to be a part of series on Romans, focusing on the wrath of God.
“I can’t preach that now. That’s not what we need,” Stone said, noting he instead will focus on the faithfulness of a loving God to his people.
While Stone has been pastor of the church for only five years, his wife grew up in the church and was there that fateful Sunday in June 1980. She, like others, thinks of that day often.
“Talking to members today, not a day goes by that they don’t think about that day. You can’t drive by this church and see the memorial to those who died that others might live with remembering. We remember, we pray and we thank God.”

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  • George Henson