Sutherland Springs church honors victims, survivors of mass shooting five years later

First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs hosts 5th annual memorial ceremony Saturday

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – Julie Workman survived one of the deadliest mass shootings in Texas history.

“I watched the barrel of the gun fire into my son, directly into my son’s back…as I grab his hand…I take a bullet towards the chest,” Workman said.

Workman took out time to reflect on the loss of family and friends at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs’ “Ringing of the Bells” ceremony on Saturday.

She described the bell-ringing ceremony as a sacred moment to remember the “joyous” memories she shared with the men, women and children killed during a mass shooting in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on Nov. 5, 2017.

David Colbath, another survivor who was in the building with Workman at the time of the shooting, said the community and church is still going through the healing process. However, it has not deterred them from serving in and on behalf of the church.

“Do we just say, ‘Oh, well, they died and don’t worry about it?’ Or do we honor them and honor them in God’s word and continue to do God’s work? That’s what I want to do. That’s what my fellow survivors that are still here, it looks like that’s what they want to do,” Colbath explained.

At the end of the ceremony, Workman said helping others is a crucial part of community development.

“When we see that somebody is hurting, when we see that something’s not right, that we speak up and we work to do something about it.”

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About the Authors

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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