Around 300 persons gathered on the Wyoming County Courthouse lawn Thursday night to express extreme grief and sorrow during a prayer meeting held at the end of a long day shooting at the Weis Market which claimed four lives.
Clergy representing all faiths led the group in prayer, Bible readings and song in an effort to offer comfort to each other in light of the tragic incident of which no could make sense.
Just before 1 a.m., Randy Stair, 24, of Dallas, shot and killed co-workers Terry Sterling, 63, of South Montrose, Victoria Brong, 25, of Factoryville, and Brian Hayes, 47, of Springville, then turned a gun on himself.
The incident sent shock waves throughout Tunkhannock and the surrounding area.
“It really hurts,” said Sarah Davis of Tunkhannock, who said she and Brong were friends. “I messaged her about an hour before (the shooting) in the store. She said she had to work until 3 a.m. I asked her why she does that, and she replied ‘I like my job. Later, when I heard about the shooting, I called her to find out if she was all right, and just got a message. When I found out who it was around 11 a.m., I freaked out that it was her.”
“They were all my co-workers,” said Abigail Yurksza of Tunkhannock. “I knew them all very well.”
When asked her reaction when she heard the news, Yurksza said she just could not believe it.
Rev. Lou Divis of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church offered the opening remarks, and said that counselors would be available following the service.
Pastor Terry Hughes of the Springville United Methodist Church, which was well familiar with victim Brian Hays, called on God to pour out his spirit to everyone affected by the shooting.
“Give us your peace, as we come together in unity,” Hughes prayed.
Prsebyterian Pastor Leslie Bullock led in a round of ‘Amazing Grace.’
Other pastors representing Catholic, Pilgrim Holiness, Baptist, and Assembly of God churches also shared their concerns.
“It’s an absolute tragedy,” Bridgewater Baptist Church Pastor Rich Clark said. “It reminds us in a world of darkness, that we need to communicate the beacon of hope, which is Jesus.”