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Church Service Memorializing Victims of Dayton Shooting Turns Political

Sign with the names of the nine victims of the August 4 mass shooting in front of Omega Music in the Oregon District
Jason Reynolds
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.