Shooting spree leaves NOPD chaplain in tears

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 12 at 6:22 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans paramedics had their hands full, rushing multiple victims from two locations to area hospitals.

Arriving close behind them were New Orleans police, and on their heels, police Chaplain June Wilder, offering comfort to the officers, helping them process another nightmare even as they investigated the latest horrific crime.

"I pray with them, and I tell them that someone cares," said Wilder. "We're there, we're there to support you in whatever you're doing."

But after meeting with the officers at the hospital, Wilder's own emotions overflowed.

"It can be very emotional at times," she said. "You know when you're at a loss of how to make it better, what do you do?"

Even for an experienced chaplain whose previous career was as a law enforcement officer, the level of violence now being seen in New Orleans is shocking, and so she struggles to find the right words to comfort the police and the public.

"I think it does the officers a lot of good to know that we are there, to know that there is somebody that they can depend on, that they can unload on," Wilder said.

But she too is searching for answers, knowing there must be something that can be done to stop the violence.

"Everybody could be doing their part to help abate this," Wilder said. "I don't know what it is going to take for that to happen. We've already had children killed, all ages, elderly, innocent bystanders. No one is protected from this."

"They need to bring the National Guard in here," said Shiela, a Gentilly resident who was badly frightened by the shootings. "It's too much killing. I'm ready to move."

"I think we could all be a little more diligent in our own personal safety, but then we could all be a little more diligent in each other's safety as well," Wilder said. "Other than that, I just keep praying."

 

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