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Lawton pastors plead for peace in wake of violence

Lawton_With three deadly southwest Oklahoma shootings, a number of drive-bys, and acts of violence against police, occurring within a week's time, local church leaders are urging cooler heads to prevail.  The Lawton Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance is comprised of church pastors from across the city.  They, like many area residents, have watched violence unfold this past week, and they say instead of retaliating out of anger, people who are emotionally affected by the killings should come together to heal their hearts.

Pastor Sam Moyd first helped 7News with a Special Report on Lawton's gangs more than two years ago, and to this day he continues to plead for the community's help to solve what he calls a crisis for the entire city, and other cities such as Duncan. 

Three lives were lost to bullets within a week, and Pastor Moyd says that's too many.  He, and the Ministerial Alliance say that now is not the time for more violence.  "We hope cooler heads will prevail, here were are at another crisis point," said Pastor Dr. Charles Whitlow.  "It's just our time that we find ourselves in - a violent situation, a violent society," said Reverend James Thornton.  For many, the natural way to heal is through grieving.  However, for others, their method is retaliation, and the Ministerial Alliance hopes to discourage that.  "We're all created by god, and we all have to answer to the same curse placed upon human nature - and, that's death."

The pastors are urging the public to think of the families and how their members are being affected.  "Give them time to grieve the death of their loved one," said Reverend Moyd.  "We have to figure out a way to take this as, 'This is our children dying, not somebody else's.'  It's our children are dying, it's issues that's happening in our community, and we need to overcome it." 

The pastors say that the first step to a solution is to involve a higher power.  "We need healing, we don't need any more shootings," said Moyd.  "We need to come together and live as human beings upon this earth as God intended for us to live.  We've got to come together and demand things change."

Moyd says that all of this violent activity proves there are not enough activities to keep kids out of trouble.  He says that despite a lot of talks involving community members about finding solutions to crime, there hasn't been enough action. 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) says it will likely be next week before its investigation into the death of Marcell Johnson is complete.  Comanche County District Attorney Robert Schulte will not comment on the matter until that time.

Count on 7News to keep you updated on the investigation.

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