Local News

Carthage church holds grief counseling program

Posted April 2, 2009 10:22 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2009 5:55 a.m. EDT

— The First Baptist Church began a program Thursday to help the community deal with Sunday's shooting deaths at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center.

“It’s going to be really important for all of us to be available, to be visible and to be part of the healing that needs to take place,” said Wayne Adams of First Baptist Church.

On Sunday, a gunman shot and killed eight people and wounded three people at the nursing home in Carthage in Moore County. Carthage police officer Justin Garner, 25, stopped the gunman with a single shot to the chest.

The accused gunman, Robert Stewart, faces eight counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony assault on a law enforcement officer.

Every Thursday this month at the church, Sandhills Mental Health will facilitate a grief counseling program that will include law enforcement, elected officials and members of the faith community. The programs will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the church, 108 McNeil St.

“Most people are still in shock or denial,” Sandhills counselor Mark Marquez said.

Carthage resident Kristina Greene said the shooting has left her feeling uncomfortable in a town where she has never felt that way before.

“It’s such a small community,” Greene said. “Everybody I know has been affected one way or another.”

Around town, white ribbons are used as symbols of hope for a community trying to recapture its small-town feel.

“March 29 is a day I never imagined would happen in my quiet peaceful town of Carthage,” Mayor Ronnie Fields said while attending the program.