Update: Following the death of Det. Mike Doty of the York County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina, a small chaplain team is continuing to minister to family members, friends and law enforcement officers in the area. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are serving alongside the York County Sheriff’s chaplains as they talk and pray with those who are suffering.
Please keep Det. Doty’s family in your prayers, along with all those who are grieving his loss. Also continue to pray for the three officers who are recovering from their gunshot wounds. Check back here for details on local prayer vigils and a memorial service for Det. Doty, which will likely be held this weekend.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are ministering in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, after four law enforcement officers were shot just south of Charlotte in York County, South Carolina.
“We could really use your prayers,” Trent Faris, the York County Sheriff’s Dept. public information officer, passionately shared Tuesday at a press conference. “And we could really use your thoughts for those officers.”
A team of crisis-trained chaplains, including several former law enforcement officers, spent most of the day Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where three of the injured officers were taken and where dozens of other law enforcement officers and family members have been camped out to show their support. A small chaplain team returned to the hospital on Wednesday.
Another team is spending time with officers and dispatchers at the York County Sheriff’s Office and its substations. Each of the chaplains is offering emotional and spiritual care and a ministry of presence to those who have been deeply affected by Tuesday morning’s shooting.
“The York County Sheriff’s Department has requested our assistance,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Rapid Response Team. “We want to be available to the family and the department.
“An incident like this triggers a lot of emotion, and law enforcement is a brotherhood. It’s like having a family member shot or injured.”
Munday said the Rapid Response Team chaplains are working closely with two chaplains from the York County Sheriff’s Office as they seek to determine the best ways to provide emotional and spiritual care to the sheriff’s office and the community.
A multi-department overnight manhunt began just after 10 p.m. on Monday with a domestic violence call to a house in York, South Carolina, about 30 miles southwest of Charlotte. K-9 handler Sgt. Randy Clinton was shot just after 1 a.m. on Tuesday while searching for a suspect who ran into the woods. Sgt. Clinton is expected to be OK.
Later in the night, more shots were fired as the search continued. York Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings was hit, along with Sgt. Buddy Brown and Detective Mike Doty from the York County Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday night, the York County Sheriff’s office announced the passing of Det. Doty on its Twitter page.
On Tuesday, chaplains ministering at the hospital said the wounded officers were surrounded by their families and officers from throughout the region. Several chaplains had opportunities to talk and pray with family members struggling with intense grief after the shooting. At one point, two of the chaplains were invited by the family of an injured officer to come into his room in the ICU to pray for him and his life-threatening injuries.
On Wednesday morning as snow fell across the city, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team staff gathered at BGEA’s Charlotte headquarters to continue to pray for the injured officers, grieving families, the law enforcement community and the family of the shooting suspect. A team of 6-8 chaplains will continue to provide emotional and spiritual care as they offer God’s hope and comfort to the officers and their families in the midst of a traumatic, life-changing situation.
The shooting suspect, Christian Thomas McCall, was taken into custody with gunshot wounds.
“We’re going to muscle up and keep moving on,” Faris said of the state of the York County Sheriff’s Office. “The main concern is our guys at the hospital right now.”
The Rapid Response Team’s ministry specifically to the law enforcement community began in October 2014 with the first National Law Enforcement Retreat, held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.
The RRT has developed a close relationship with many law enforcement agencies including the York County Sheriff’s Office, which requested the assistance of the RRT chaplains following Tuesday’s shooting.
Over the past few years, Billy Graham chaplains have deployed to many incidents to help minister to the law enforcement community, including Ferguson, Missouri (March 2015); Baltimore, Maryland (April 2015); Dallas, Texas (July 2016), Baton Rouge, Louisiana (July 2016) and Charlotte, North Carolina (September 2016). The next law enforcement retreat will be held just outside of Austin, Texas, in March.
“The only thing that keeps us a civil society is our law enforcement,” Munday said. “When our first line of protection for our community is under attack, it’s an attack on all of us.”
Please pray for everyone who is suffering after the violence in York County.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
From the ashes of 9/11, The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team ministry was developed to share Christ in the midst of crisis and disasters. Today’s deployment was the first of 2018 and follows a busy fall, including California wildfires, a church shooting in Texas and a terrorist attack in NYC. Support the Rapid Response Team.