‘We can go through it together’: Different cultures unite after Forest Acres church shooting

Community comes together to prayer for victim of Columbia church shooting

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two congregations came together in prayer Friday after a church member was shot during a robbery at a Forest Acres Church last weekend.

Rosewood Church hosted the service.

Even though both congregations were of different cultures and spoke different languages, English and Spanish, church members understood each other through their faith.

They say last weekend’s tragic events at Centro Cristiano De Columbia brought them together.

“A lot of people question, they say, ‘why would God allow bad things to happen to good people?’ or good things happening to bad people," Bob Morgan, pastor of Rosewood Church said. "It’s really not about bad things happening to good people, or good things happening to bad people. God’s things are happening to all people, and we all have to go through things, and when we get around to the point of realizing that we don’t have to go through it alone, then we can go through it together.”

Shooting victim Esvin Perez was shown on the screen during the prayer service.
Shooting victim Esvin Perez was shown on the screen during the prayer service. (Source: WIS)

The victim, Esvin Perez, 23, was shot during the armed robbery at his church.

One of his brothers recalled some of those moments at the prayer service.

“He shot my brother,” a translator said, “but when the man got out, I saw my brother on the ground.”

Walter Perez, another brother, told WIS that Esvin is improving in health. Walter Perez says God has many plans for his brother.

Pastor Henry Alfaro with Centro Cristiano said they forgive the alleged shooter, but are worried for their safety while he is still at large.

Composite sketch of church shooting suspect (Source: Forest Acres Police Department)
Composite sketch of church shooting suspect (Source: Forest Acres Police Department)

Earlier this week, Forest Acres police released a sketch of the suspect from the robbery at Centro Cristiano de Columbia Church on Decker Boulevard.

Police are asking for the public’s help to find him. Anyone who has information on the suspect can help police by calling CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888 CRIME SC (1-888-274-6372).

Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy and Richland County Deputies also stopped by at the prayer service Friday.

Rosewood Church is accepting donations for Esvin’s family and his church family.

To anyone who wants to donate, follow these instructions:

“All donations or offerings to the church, Centro Cristiano de Columbia, or Esvin Perez, should be made payable to Centro Cristiano de Columbia and can be submitted directly to Centro Cristiano de Columbia or the office of Rosewood Church.

Donations may also be mailed to: Rosewood Church 2901 Rosewood Dr. Columbia, SC 29205

Please mark your gift ATT: Centro Cristiano de Columbia.”

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