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TVUUC holds service 10 years after church shooting

Two people were killed in the shooting on July 27, 2008.

KNOXVILLE — Ten years after a gunman killed two people at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, members Sunday attended a service to remember the tragedy.

Members of the church brought rocks to lay down and symbolize the power of letting go of burdens, helping people move on after the shooting.

"Some people have moved on, as they say, have gotten over it. But some people are still suffering the effects," said Jeffrey Kovac, a past president of the TVUUC Board of Directors. "We tend to carry around this anger and this grief and it can be debilitating."

Related: Woman becomes KPD chaplain after shooting at her church

As memories fade and time heals, the feelings, emotions, and haunting sounds that rang out that July morning will stay with the survivors forever.

"It’s one of those incidents in a person’s life where you sort of have a photographic recall of the events of the day," said Pat Bing. "I remember first hearing the shot. The boom was incredibly loud."

It’s been just over 10 years since Pat Bing sat inside the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church when shooter Jim Adkisson walked in with a shotgun, killing two people. She says not enough has changed since the shooting left her friends dead.

"Our children should not have to go to school in fear, not knowing what they are going to face," said Bing. "They shouldn’t have to live with that terror. It is just very upsetting that it has gotten worse instead of better."

A banner hangs outside of the church that reads, "Thoughts and prayers are not enough."

Ten years after the shooting, if there’s a lasting memory no one wants to forget, it’s how the community came together to help the church at its lowest point.

"There were churches, Baptist churches, Churches of Christ, conservative churches, liberal churches, in the community that heard about this shooting, and many of them just turned around and said, We have to offer prayers for these people," said Bill Dockery, a member of the church. "This church is still wonderful. It’s a great place to be."

Adkisson later pleaded guilty and is serving a prison term. Authorities said Adkisson resented what he saw as the church's liberal politics.

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