Hundreds attend prayer vigils for wounded officers
FLORENCE, S.C. — Hundreds of residents, elected officials, first responders and officers stood together and offered prayers Thursday evening for those affected by the shooting in the Vintage Place subdivision and for the Florence community.
Two prayer vigils were held Thursday evening to honor fallen police officer Terrence Carraway and six officers who were wounded Wednesday . The first vigil began at 5:30 p.m. outside the Florence County Complex, where Calvin Robinson, the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in downtown Florence, challenged the community to “become one.”
“The only way we can defeat such evil is if we are one,” Robinson said. “My simple challenge is to be one. To support our mayor, our sheriff, our chief and these officers. As a father of a law enforcement officer, when the door opens at 5:30 a.m. every morning, I say a prayer of thanks. If we believe in the Jesus that we say we do, then we are one.”
The vigil was concluded with the singing of “Amazing Grace.”
“We are to love, protect and care for one another,” Robinson said. “Continue to pray for those who are fighting for their lives and for the Carraway family. No law enforcement officer will ever be the same after this. We’re going to live with it. Every time you see a police officer, utter a prayer.”
“Florence, we are one,” Robinson said.
The second vigil was held at First Baptist Church in downtown Florence, where more than 800 people attended the service. The vigil featured several speakers, including First Baptist Church interim Pastor Wayne Brown, Florence City Councilman Glynn Willis and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Cecil Bromell.
The proceedings began with a blue candle being lit to honor Carraway.
Willis said it wasn’t that long ago that the city council honored Carraway for 30 years of service.
“Our hearts are broken,” Willis said. “We want to lift up those officers and their families that have dedicated their lives to service. I just want to speak from my heart. We lost an awesome guy Wednesday. Officer Carraway didn’t just live a life of service, he served as a peace officer. Let’s honor him and his family going forward.”
The Rev. Cecil Bromell was Carraway’s pastor for the past nine years.
“I had the opportunity to serve as brother Carraway’s pastor, and he was just a loving person,” Bromell said. “What we need in our communities are more loving people. He had a badge, yes, but he had another badge: It was a badge of love.”
Bromell said each resident in the Pee Dee area gets to choose whether to wear a “badge of love or a badge of hate.”
“Terrence showed love in its purest form,” Bromell said. “God told his disciples that there was only one way that the world will truly know that you’re a disciple of His. It’s by your love, one for another. Brother Carraway’s death should encourage and challenge us to wear that ‘badge of love’ everywhere we go.”