Some churches creating plans to handle a potential mass shooting

Though still rare, violence at places of worship seems to be steadily rising. Are any religious leaders in Wyoming worried?
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 12:46 AM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On Christmas Sunday, there was a murder-suicide at a church near Denver. Though still rare... Violence at places of worship seems to be steadily rising. So are any religious leaders in Wyoming worried it could happen here? And what plans... If any... Do they have in place?

In 2015, nine people killed at a Methodist church in South Carolina. In 2017, 26 people killed at a Baptist church in Texas. And to close 2022, a murder-suicide at a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Colorado.

“It’s just heartbreaking, you know? Religious service... Whatever stripe or variety... People are usually there looking for hope, looking for encouragement. And you would almost assume that they would be safe to do that.”

Walter Hill is the pastor of Wellsprings Church in Casper. Though he thinks the odds of a mass shooting at a Wyoming house of worship is low... He also says you can never be too sure.

“I think we would all like to hope, that it would never be something that we would deal with. But I know that as we’ve assembled and put together our safety team here at Wellsprings, we’ve approached it from the other angle. That you have to be prepared for the thing you don’t want.”

Hill says the Wellsprings safety team knows everything from first aid to tactical training. And just because they may not stick out to the casual observer... Doesn’t mean they’re not around.

“You know... They don’t wear any uniforms or badges. They’re present. We have a schedule with them. And we just have them... They’re a great group of volunteers. Very well trained. They are able to respond to anything. From the worst-case thing that nobody wants to everyday things.”

As for the cause of mass shootings? Hill believes regulations can only go so far.

“The actual problem is individual. And so, in my humble opinion, it’s why most federal efforts... To try to figure out how to stop it... Fall short. Because you will never make a law that changes the content of another person’s heart.”

Hill also said he doesn’t blame modern music or video games for the cause of violence... But a lack of love and acceptance.