Hundreds gather for day of prayer

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County has gone through an enormous amount of heartache lately.

In just six weeks, five people were murdered.

People in Hanover are not used to so much violence and many left Saturday's day of prayer with a newfound sense of renewal.

A large crowd huddled together at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville Saturday afternoon. They stayed close together not just to battle the chilly temperatures, but also to come together as a community in grief.

Many people like Barry Vaughan didn't know any of the recent murder victims personally, but he felt compelled to come anyway.

"This type of gathering helps all of us heal," said Vaughan.  "It also connects our community together, to draw on each other's faith."

Jyreffe Clark, Brett Wells, Caroline and Madison King and Sarajane Hakopian all were murdered in Hanover County within a six week span.

"For the three year-old twins, for the teenagers, there's no sense in these lives being snuffed out so early," said Vaughan.

Lee Mitchell started the Facebook group that got this event off the ground. He says he wasn't sure what else to do besides pray after this outbreak of violence.

"A lot of people were concerned with, you know, what do we do," said Mitchell.  "It's natural. I thought what better way than to get together and honor the people murdered."

He says overnight hundreds of people started getting involved.

Many people wore t-shirts with Brett Wells picture on it. His friends and family in attendance say it's nice to know they're not alone while they mourn the loss of a loved one.

"There's a bunch of people here that all care for him," said Wells' friend Noah George.  "It's sad to see him that he's gone and all the people (here) are closer together than they've been before."

Mitchell says he felt it was important to show compassion not just for the victims, but also the people that committed these murders.

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