Cumberland County residents look to a higher power for healing

(WBIR - Crab Orchard) Following last week's quadruple murder, many living in Cumberland County are turning to a higher power for healing.

On Thursday morning a Renegade Mountain resident on his way to work discovered four young people shot to death inside a parked car on an undeveloped road.

The victims were identified as John Lajeunesse, 16, Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17, and Rikki Jacobsen, 22. Police have a suspect , Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, in custody.

Pastor Robert Hawkins' congregation is located not too far from where the bodies were discovered

He says the community is still in shock. "So much loss of life. I was shocked that something like that would happen," said Hawkins.

Sunday morning, he encouraged his community to look to their faith for answers and healing.

"We've had some other things happen in the past, but these people are resilient and they have a strong belief in Jesus Christ and that's what we need," Pastor Hawkins said.

Pastor Terry Swaw of Crab Orchard Church of God of Prophecy helped to organize a prayer vigil for late Sunday afternoon.

"We're not fearful, but we're shaken anytime tragedy happens," said Swaw.

"Our job is to lift our community up in this time of need, be there for these hurting families, and show the love of Christ," Pastor Swaw said.

Dozens of people at the vigil held on the Crab Orchard ball field wore blue ribbons to symbolize their prayers for tranquility and healing for their town and prayed for the victims, their families, and for forgiveness for the alleged shooter.

Investigators have not said what they believe the motive for the crime was, but Swaw asked the crowd not to focus on that. Rather, he said they should concern themselves with helping those impacted.

"We live here, we understand our community, we understand that our community has been cast somewhat in a negative light," said Swaw. "We want to lift our community up."


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