Local News

Special church service held for grieving teens

Posted January 15

— A special Wednesday night service was held for teenagers at The Bridge Church still grieving over the deaths of a Goldsboro teen couple that shot and killed themselves on Monday.

The service was a source of refuge for young people seeking strength to cope with their deep sense of loss.

“That’s a member of my family, and to the core it shakes you,” said Andy Stovall, church pastor.

Spenser Terry Garrison, 16, shot and killed himself on Capps Bridge Road near Rosewood High School. Moments later, his girlfriend, Malia K. Porter, 15, used the same gun to shoot herself. She died early Tuesday morning.

It was unclear whether the pair was in the vehicle together or if Porter went to the truck with a friend.

Investigators think that something may have sparked an argument between the couple, but no one knows for sure.

Both attended Rosewood. Both met at The Bridge Church. Both were older siblings to younger sisters.

Wednesday’s service gave grieving teenagers a chance to talk.

“How are you feeling? Where were you when it happened? How is it affecting you,” said Josh Overton, the church’s youth pastor. “Making sure that they’re dealing with it and not push it under the rug and something happens terrible, later down the line.”

Overton and other church leaders wanted the teenagers to know they can turn to the church when life knocks them off their feet.

“Especially in suicide, when the reason that happened is because they went through it by themselves,” he said. “They kept it in. We don’t want to see that happen again.”

Garrison and Porter’s families are finalizing funeral arrangements for services this weekend.

5 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • JAT Jan 16, 2:44 p.m.

    Rare - while i know it can be helpful for some, it can also be horrifying for others, putting thoughts in their heads that don't need to be there, making them relive the deaths over and over again, now allowing them to move forward. The church wasn't successful in making these 2 kids believe they were worthy of love and life before they killed themselves for foolish reasons. That's the truly sad part. 2 kids thought they knew more than all the churches and all the parents and all the friends combined.

  • Obamacare prevails again Jan 16, 10:42 a.m.

    Sometimes, though, these repeated vigils and services and constant reliving of the tragedy can... View More

    — Posted by JAT

    +1

    Time for the news reports on this to come to an end.

  • DareToDream Jan 16, 9:26 a.m.

    The Bridge is Amazing.. They are so helpful in the community from blood drives to tragedy.. I'm so thankful for this church, not only in my personal life, but as well as for these teens. Knowing they have a place to relieve some heartache thru Christ instead of dealing with it by their selves..

    @JAT:

    Reliving the tragedy is a form of traumatic stress relief.. Reliving it moment to moment, out loud with someone listening vs. bottling it up trying not to think about it and waiting for the right amount of pressure to build up behind it can cause more serious problems then acting on it while its still fresh. it can lead to PTSD.. The brain will make up scenarios to make you think somehow you could have prevented it or it was your fault..The main key to reliving is analyzing every single moment to moment. the brain is very powerful and when it counterattacks is when it does more harm than good.. Not thinking about it at all is when it does more harm than good.

  • JAT Jan 16, 8:58 a.m.

    Sometimes, though, these repeated vigils and services and constant reliving of the tragedy can do more harm than good.

  • leaannbo Jan 16, 8:13 a.m.

    I was there last night and it was a beautiful service. I hope the teens in my community will heed the message that was brought to them