HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Leaders from all walks of life and religions plan to gather on Friday afternoon for a prayer vigil. The move follows the deadly attack at an African-American church in Charleston. They want to offer their thoughts and show solidarity with those hurting in South Carolina.
The interfaith prayer service is set for 4pm at the Dominican Sisters Meeting Room at 6501 Almeda Road near the Texas Medical Center.
On Saturday at 5pm, a prayer vigil is also planned at Wesley AME Church in 3rd Ward located 2209 Dowling Street.
However, the attack has some wondering whether the attack could have been avoided. We spoke with one pastor who carries a concealed handgun to protect his congregation and himself.
Pastor Kevin Bullock, of the Evangelist Chapel AME Church on Almeda and Holcombe, said, "I'm not going to walk out like John Wayne with it on, but if I have to go get it, I know where to go get it. Have I had to pull it? Yes. Have I had to display it? Yes. But you hope you never have to at nobody."
Bullock didn't grow up around guns. In fact, he never thought of getting a concealed handgun license until one night eight years ago just outside of his church.
He said, "Late at night, a guy walked up behind me, kind of scared me. It kind of moved me in the direction 'I need to look out better for myself.'"
Now, he doesn't open the church without security guards in place. "When you come to church on Sunday, a policeman greets you at the door," Bullock said. "He says 'good morning,' and you come in the church and have worship."
The back pews are cordoned off so the pastor can see who is in the church at all times. Parishioners at the church know the pastor is packing.
Bullock said, "The church has now become more of a target. Well, people see low-hanging fruit. And when you have an older congregation, you have to look out for them because they don't move like they used to move."
As for those who disagree, Bullock says, "Everybody is entitled to their opinion and until you've been confronted with situations where you need it, you won't have an appreciation for it."
Houston pastor with gun talks security after South Carolina church attack