East Texans unite in prayer following shootings nationwide

East Texans unite in prayer following shootings nationwide
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Dozens of pastors, county and city leadership, gathered with citizens in Tyler for a prayer service Saturday morning. More than 100 people joined hands, uniting in prayer after a week of tragedy.

College Hill Missionary Baptist Church hosted the Together We Stand event. The clergy invited members of law enforcement, not only to pray but to have an open discussion about race and violence.

"All politicians are not crooked, all black people are not thugs, and all white people are not racist. We've got to come to grips with reality," said Rev. Orenthia Mason.

Organizers said the community has to come together to move forward, and pastors believe that should start in the church.

"Today we need guidance from the Lord as we go forward and how we go forward. We need that wisdom," said Pastor Rodney Curry.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith shared with the crowd the expectations he has of his deputies.

"I believe we have to be held to a high standard. We can't be on the same standard as everybody else. We don't have the opportunity to mess up," Smith said.

Smith told the crowd, anytime you're pulled over to comply with officers.

"When you get stopped by police you'd be better off putting your hands on the steering wheel. If it's at night time, turn your dom light on. Put your hands on the steering wheel. I even do that and I'm not black," Smith said.

As they examined the problems faced today, they're hopeful their prayers will be a part of  the solution.

Monday at 12 p.m., law enforcement agencies from Smith County will gather on Tyler's Downtown Square to honor the 5 fallen officers and their families from Dallas.

The program will consist of a prayer for all officers, reading of the 5 fallen officer's names and taps.

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