Charleston Pastor Eric Hallback Sr. of The Rock Faith Center is praying that riots don’t break out in response to the shooting of nine people by gunman Dylann Roof on Wednesday night.
“I pray our country doesn’t go into a riot or a bad place,” Hallback told KFOX 14. “To show we have to deal with it ourselves as a church as a body of believers, let God handle it. We need to stand our ground and stand on the truth and not allow this to cause us to come out of character that’s my biggest prayer, is that we don’t come out of character.”
The pastor also revealed that his church was discussing new security measures that may need to be put in place to deter future attacks.
Hallback went on to emphasize that now is the time for healing, not more hatred, and even revealed that he was praying for the family of the gunman.
“What we have to do is continue to pray. Pray for injustice pray for racial issues and hatred that comes from people,” said Hallback.
Following Wednesday night’s shooting, black community leaders expressed concerns of a “race war” breaking out in response to escalating violence.
“We don’t need any more bloodshed and we don’t need a race war,” said J. Denise Cromwell, a black community activist. “Charleston has a lot of racial tension. … We’re drowning and someone is pouring water over us.”
Fellow activist Michelle Felder said that young people “weren’t thinking” and could act out violently in response to the shooting.
Although there were no signs of unrest in Charleston after Roof was arrested, some on Twitter are calling for riots if the killer gets off with a lighter sentence due to mental health issues.
If this guy dylann roof is found not guilty by reason of mental illness then i say BLACK PEOPLE OF CHARLESTON WE RIOT…
— Brother_Khalid (@Panther_Khalid) June 18, 2015
If the news try to play the Mental Health Card, Charleston better riot. smh
— Stanley Jordan (@Mr_QUE_TurntUp) June 18, 2015
I swear if they say he has a mental health problem and don't give him the death penalty. Charleston will Riot.
— RJ ?? (@_BasedOnRJ) June 18, 2015
Gone get off on some mental shit then Charleston get hit with a riot etc yall forget in 3 weeks. Planned. You know the usual.
— 2 (@Housejamez) June 18, 2015
If this man gets off cause they say he's mentally ill the riot in Charleston will be ridiculous.
— XoÔverØÇhô.Dõt (@theweekay) June 18, 2015
Watch the video below for a full breakdown of why more riots in major American cities are inevitable.