(ROCKWALL, TX – July 12, 2016) In wake of the tragic Dallas shooting that left five police officers killed and 11 wounded, Rockwall and other surrounding communities came together to start the healing process by honoring the victims with an outpouring of love, song and prayer.
Police officers, emergency responders and city officials from surrounding municipalities joined the Rockwall Ministerial Alliance on Monday morning in a prayer meeting at The Center in downtown Rockwall, to lift up the families of the Dallas officers killed or wounded in the shooting.
On Thursday night, July 7, in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest against the recent killing of two black men at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota, suspect Micah Xavier Johnson (25) opened fire on police officers, and was later killed by a police bomb-equipped robot after a tense hours-long standoff. Johnson, who is black, told officers during the standoff that he was upset about the afore-mentioned police killings and wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.
Royse City Mayor Janet Nichol said during Monday’s prayer meeting that she doesn’t believe racism to be the root cause of the act of violence committed last week, which took the lives of five officers including DART Officer Brent Thompson, a newly-wed father of six and resident of Royse City.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t have a racial problem, we have an evil problem,” Nichol said. “And right now, that is what we’re battling. I think we all need to make a commitment to these officers that we don’t just pray for them today but that we lift them up daily, and ask God to protect and cover them every day.”
State Senator Bob Hall said the key to stopping violence is not with more violence, but by starting at the bottom through changing the hearts of our nation’s people – not at the top through elected officials and government.
“This is happening because we have too many lost souls out there,” Hall said. “We have too many people who do not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and have his love in their hearts. And we need to bring that back. We need to turn our country around from the bottom.”
In cases involving the shooting of an unarmed or seemingly unarmed citizen by a police officer, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson said politicians, attorneys and media often have weeks, months or even years to evaluate the actions of the police officer involved, whereas the officer had only a split second to make a shoot-don’t shoot decision. According to Eavenson, in that split second when the officer realizes he might have to take a human life or lose his own, no amount of shoot-don’t shoot training can prepare the officer for that situation.
“There is absolutely no feeling like that,” Eavenson said, “and I don’t think enough people understand that.
Eavenson continued, “I’d say that 99+ percent of all the officers in this country go to work every day to do the right thing for the right reasons, and they do it on a consistent basis. There has been story after story – some of it heart-wrenching – about those officers in Dallas running to the fire instead of running away from it. And that’s what we’re trained to do. Officers who have been through it, and are dedicated, they don’t think about it, they just do it. That’s an incredible trait.”
Rockwall Police Chief Kirk Riggs echoed Eavenson’s statements regarding the bravery and selflessness possessed by many of his fellow officers and those throughout the country, relaying a conversation he had with his son about the dangers of wearing the badge and uniform in light of the recent attack on police.
“I got a call from my son who said, ‘Dad, why don’t you not wear your uniform for a while and just wear your suit?’ And I told him, ‘Son, I’ve never been more proud to wear this uniform.’”
Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News editor.