The Texas church where 26 people were shot and killed last week will reopen its sanctuary as a memorial to those killed, just one week after the mass shooting.
Officials at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs announced Saturday that it will invite media and members of the public to tour the memorial on the one-week anniversary of the shooting, CNN reported.
“This is our church, but it is not just us that are suffering,” the church’s associate pastor Mark Collins said in a statement. “This tragedy has rocked our nation, and has had an impact on all Americans and our country as a whole. It is our hope that this will be healing for everyone.”
“Through generous volunteer efforts and offers from several individuals with varying fields of expertise, the scene of this unspeakable event has been transformed into a beautiful memorial that celebrates and pays tribute to the lives that were lost,” church officials said in a statement.
The church’s pastor, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the attack, said earlier that the church wouldn’t reopen after the shooting.
A gunman opened fire during services at the church last Sunday, killing 26 people. The shooter was found dead after a brief car chase.
The Air Force admitted in the wake of the shooting that it had failed to report the gunman’s domestic violence conviction to the national criminal database used to run background checks for gun sales, which would have likely stopped him from buying the rifle used in the shooting.
Lawmakers have demanded an investigation into the Air Force’s error, and Democrats have called for Congress to pass gun control legislation after the shooting.