Community members pray outside of Austin-East day after fatal shooting


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Community members are praying for the student and staff of the Austin-East community a day after an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a student.

Dozens of people gathered in front of the school on Tuesday.

Religious leaders, students, and other community members joined hands in prayer. It was a heavy hour outside the school.

“Enough is enough with our young people dying,” said Calvin Taylor Skinner, Mount Zion Baptist Church Minister.

He’s one of many community members that are heartbroken after another shooting that involved an Austin East High School Student.

“All of this violence that we’re seeing is symptoms of a deeper issue rooted in oppression, rooted in poverty, rooted in neglect,” Skinner.

Tierra Gordon said the issue isn’t the school but the community around it.

“We see a lot gunshots every night every night ambulance fire department flying everywhere and stuff like it’s a lot,” Gordon said.

Gordon said it takes a whole community to stop the violence.

“I’m not fighting just for me,” explained Gordon. “I’m fighting for this whole entire community and there’s a lot of people who don’t know how to fight but I know and I realize the power in prayer.”

“Power against power,” she added. “I got a voice and I’m gonna use it to pray.”

Prayer is what dozens of others have come together to do on Tuesday.

“Families and communities knowing that we are here, that we should be all here together in unity and in love is important,” said Skinner.

They hope their message speaks to the students who are hurting.

“It’s on us as a community, as a city to embrace them to love them to lift them up,” Skinner explained.

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