The Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living was overflowing with saddened community members Thursday night during a prayer service for the victims of the deadly mass shootings as Salon Meritage.
A center stage of the church was lined with nine burning candles.
“Lighting the candles means giving them life today,” the Rev. Joshua Reeves told the packed church.
There was a moment of silence. Some people cried and sniffed as they prayed.
Members of the community spoke at the service, including civic leaders such as Councilman Gordon Shanks, 76.
“I didn’t know any of these people, but this is like a wound for my family,” he said. “These things are not supposed to happen here,” he continued. “Maybe in Compton.”
His remark drew awkward silence and laughter. Shanks clarified his statement later. “I shouldn’t have done that,” he said. “It’s not very nice.”
He noted that crime in Seal Beach is often an offense such as drunk driving. “The crime rate here is very low. Things like this just don’t happen here.”
–Ruben Vives in Seal Beach