Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are in Lewiston, Maine, offering emotional and spiritual care after the mass shooting that killed 18 people and wounded 13 more.
Prayer vigils were held over the weekend, in the wake of the suspected gunman's body being discovered. Locals said 40yr old Robert Card's family had lived in the area for generations, and once donated land for the building of a local church.
The devastating mass shooting on Wednesday took place across two locations in the close-knit town. Residents were in their homes on lockdown for nearly 48 hours, as police searched for 40yr old Robert Card. His body was discovered near a river, reportedly with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT)—including several with a background in law enforcement—travelled to the town, to offer emotional and spiritual care. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association president and CEO, posted a call to prayer on social media.
“Join me in praying for the loved ones of those killed in the senseless shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Dozens more were injured and also need our prayers.”
According to news reports, the suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“We are devastated to hear of the tragic news coming out of Lewiston, Maine,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “We are praying for the families of the victims, survivors, law enforcement and the community.
“We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to comfort, pray and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by this horrific tragedy.”
The organisation asked people to pray for those who are grieving and for first responders across the area. "Ask God to strengthen these chaplains as they minister in Jesus’ Name."
A Facebook post late on Saturday, said that the group's crisis-trained chaplains "had the opportunity to comfort and pray with people and attend a community vigil to honor the victims".
In the wake of the shooting, Democrat Jared Golden, who represents the area in the US government, told a news conference he'd changed his position on banning assault rifles, and asked for forgiveness from his constituents, for having voted against gun control legislation in the past.
An investigation is continuing into the sequence of events. The state's safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck has told reporters detectives are sifting through lots of information.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has asked supporters to continue to pray for the people of Lewiston, Maine.