Friday, February 8, 2008

Our hearts are heavy...our prayers continue... (revised)

Our hearts are very heavy because of a tragic shooting that took place last night at City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri.

A disgruntled man who had experienced frustration with the Kirkwood City Council in the recent past shot and killed Kirkwood Police Sgt. William Biggs on his way into last night's council meeting. He took Sgt. Biggs' service weapon, entered the council chambers, and fatally shot Kirkwood Police Officer Tom Ballman immediately upon entrance. He then shot and killed three city officials--Councilmembers Connie Karr and Michael Lynch, (both pictured in the "Kirkwood City Council" link above) and Public Works Director Ken Yost--and wounded two others, before being fatally wounded by responding Kirkwood police officers.

The two people wounded were Mayor Mike Swoboda and a journalist in attendance. The journalist was shot in the hand and is expected to fully recover. Mayor Swoboda was shot in the head and has been upgraded to serious condition but remains in ICU. Please hold Mayor Swoboda and his family in your prayers as he comes through this horrible tragedy.

You may have heard about the story already, as it has made national news. Here is the link to the full story on

Local churches will be holding vigils this afternoon and evening, to continue to bear Christ's light in this dark world, and to continue to pray for all the victims and their families. This is especially hard for the small and tight-knit Kirkwood Police Department, who just two years ago lost another officer in the line of duty.

Our hearts are very heavy for all involved and for our community. Please join us in praying for our community.

A quaint suburb of just 27,000 residents, Kirkwood is about 10 miles west/southwest of Concordia Seminary, and the home to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod international headquarters. Just four blocks away from Kirkwood City Hall is Concordia Lutheran Church, the field work church of our seminarian brother, Jerry Hays, and his family, who lost their 9-year old son in a helicopter accident in December.

We are to be Christ's light in this dark, dark world. Let us take this opportunity to express God's love and grace as we pray for all those involved and for the healing of our nation and its communities.

In Christ's love, serving Him with you--
Don, Stacye, and our girls

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