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Church Service Memorializing Victims of Dayton Shooting Turns Political

One week after the mass shooting that killed nine people, the Dayton community continues to mourn and call for action.
Jason Reynolds
/
WYSO
One week after the mass shooting that killed nine people, the Dayton community continues to mourn and call for action.

Dayton religious leaders held services Sunday to memorialize the nine people killed in a mass shooting in the city one week ago. At one well-attended service just five miles west of the site of the shooting, the discussion turned political.

Waymen AME Chapel leaders encouraged the congregation to forgive the 24-year-old gunman, who was killed by police shortly after he opened fire. But Reverend Charles Holmes also urged action.

“We know that many of our government officials in Washington are very spineless and they will not risk their political careers by speaking out forcibly and without fear of the gun lobby to say that we can do better as a nation,” said Holmes. “We pray God you will give them courage to speak up and to speak out.”

Leaders also praised Democratic Mayor Nan Whaley and Republican Governor Mike DeWine. Whaley is lobbying for a ban on sales of military-style firearms. Last week, DeWine outlined 17 gun safety-related proposals. The state’s Republican legislative leaders are signaling early interest in his plans. 

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April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.