TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas tragedy was remembered today as hundreds honored the victims and survivors of a church shooting. First Baptist Church in Daingerfield held a 30-year memorial service for a shooting that happened inside their sanctuary. On Father's day, a man who lost his daughter in the gunfire said the memory of his little girl that keeps him alive.
Larry Linam remembers his daughter, Gina. She was one of the five who were shot and killed at First Baptist Church in Daingerfield in 1980. Linam said, "She was beautiful, and you know what, she loved me. I can live with that because I have a hope that I am going to see her again."
The congregation calls it the darkest day in the history of the church. Linam said, " It was an event that we will never forget!" It was an event that made local and national headlines.
Jacky Hiles was the police officer who responded to the shooting. He handcuffed the suspect, Alvin King. "My 36 year career I have not forgotten because I knew the victims. I knew the individuals that were killed. I was a member of this church," said Hiles.
Hiles said king arrived with enough ammunition to kill 300 people. He was stopped by church members who sacrificed their lives. Bullet holes spotted the crime scene thirty years ago, and the markings can still be seen today.
It's an image still sharp, especially for those who lost loved ones. Linam said, "I will never forget I wouldn't turn her head because she had been shot there...I can still see that. I see the new little shoes that she had on. I see that blue dress, white socks."
Linam says the memory of this day carries a special meaning. "It's about the victory we can have to overcome tragedy."
Linam has written a book titled The Day the Angels Cried. He describes the shooting and shares his testimony with readers. The book is available at Lifeway Christian Stores.