Leesburg Holds Vigil After Three Days of Violence

For the second time in less than a year, the corner of King Street and Market Street in Leesburg’s downtown became the site of a candlelight vigil.

[See the photo gallery here.]

Residents, police, and elected representatives and candidates for office gathered to share thoughts and prayers before the vigil after deadly shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas.

County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) pauses between reading names of seven people slain in the last several days. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) pauses between reading names of seven people slain in the last several days. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

“I want to say the names of all the victims this week, and I want us to pause and take those names in after I say them, because it’s easy to say ‘the five police officers who were slain,’ or ‘two more black men were killed,’ but then they’re not people,” said Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).

She then listed the seven people whose deaths have made headlines in the last few days: Alton Stirling, in Baton Rouge, LA; Philando Castile, in Falcon Heights, MN; and Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith in Dallas, TX.

“These were flesh and blood people,” Randall said. “They were fathers, they were husbands, they were cousins, they were friends, they were men. And you can’t just say things like ‘this many black men died’ or ‘that many police officers were slain.’ We have to feel them as individuals. If this madness is going to stop, we have to say their names.”

Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson, calling on his experience litigating cases of police violence, urged attendants not to jump to conclusions in the cases of police shootings.

Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

“Things look real bad, things look terrible on camera,” Thompson said. “And I’m not making any excuses for law enforcement at all, and we all know there are some law enforcement officers who do things that are not aboveboard.”

Leesburg Town Council candidate Ron Campbell called on people to come together not just in times of sorrow.

“It’s no small thing when we believe that we can come together, not just when there are times of distress, but to really reflect on the unity that we have all the time, and that’s why there are so many people here tonight,” Campbell said.

“It is important that we unite, not just because of what’s going on tonight, but our county is dependent on our unity,” agreed Holy and Whole Life Changing Ministries Pastor Michelle Thomas. “Whether we survive, whether we exist as a great nation depends on our ability to love one another and live in peace.”

Sheriff Mike Chapman and Leesburg Police Department Lieutenant Patrick Daly affirmed a commitment to community policing. Chapman said over 200 deputies have had training in crisis intervention already, and the department conducts annual diversity training.

“There are too many people in this country that seem to want to turn this into a war,” said Leesburg Mayor Dave Butler. “I don’t feel that here. We don’t have that.”

Candles are lit for the vigil. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
Candles are lit for the vigil. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)


One thought on “Leesburg Holds Vigil After Three Days of Violence

  • 2016-07-09 at 2:01 pm

    The importance of prayer is much greater than most of us realize. Prayer is powerful and can change events. Prayer moves the hand of God and we are asking him to intervene in our community. Prayer supports action and is the foundation to building a Christian response to crime reduction. Ephesians 6:12 informs us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil.

    Without the Police Officers and support personnel working in their communities, we would not appreciate the safe and secure lifestyles that we now enjoy. The thin blue line establishes a barrier between light and darkness, good and evil, setting boundaries that hold back crime and ensure our comfort and community safety.

    The Bible very clearly calls us to pray for those in authority: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

    The word of God helps to put the world of law enforcement into perspective. The citizen’s use of scriptures, devotionals and prayers will protect those in law enforcement whose faith may be challenged due to the unpredictable and dangerous environment that they may experience on a daily basis. The police officer must be one who administers the hand of justice here on Earth on God’s behalf.

    This is where our prayers take action. God uses the body of Christ to uphold the governing authorities for that very purpose. We must pray relentlessly for those who protect our families, homes and community. In this way we ensure a strong bond is established between citizen and the city employees whose foremost responsibility is to maintain our much cherished community security.

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