Citywide prayer meeting held at Overcoming Believers Church following Austin-East shooting

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Overcoming Believers Church is hosting a citywide prayer meeting Tuesday night following the officer-involved shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School on Monday.

Pastor Daryl Arnold says there’s only one thing on the agenda: prayer.

Pastors of several churches in the community gathered to lead the service. They say as city leaders come up with plans for action, they felt the city needed prayer.

“It’s just unity, togetherness, the love that was in this room of everybody just so tired of all the violence, tired of all of the hurt, tired of all the pain and we have got to come together as a community to stand against what’s going on,” said Drew Carson, an attendee of the service.

The tragedies that have happened to Austin-East students this year have sent shockwaves through the city.

“It’s been a tough year. It’s been a really tough year,” said Matthew Best, co-founder of the Austin-East Foundation. He’s also an assistant basketball coach at the high school.

“Stanley (Freeman Jr.) played for me last year. I was a JV coach so I was his coach last year so that one was particularly hard for me,” Best said. “Prayer for the sake of prayer is nice but I love thinking about the fact that prayer can be something that pushes us to the next phase, to the next steps as we try to come up with solutions.”

How you can help

Last year, a group of Knoxville residents came together last summer to start the Austin-East Foundation. It is meant to raise funds for the school to help students reach their full potential.

According to the foundation website, one hundred percent of the money raised will be used to support students, faculty, and staff of Austin-East, with a goal of at least 75% of resources going to academic endeavors.

The foundation is taking donations now.

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