KILLEEN - Killeen residents joined city leaders and local members of the NAACP for a prayer vigil Saturday morning. As one body they prayed for the families of the officers slain in Dallas as well as Philando Castillo and Alton Sterling. Some who attended and held hands had never met before that day. They said it was important to come out in unity for those who had died.
"I was heartbroken for them. I was heartbroken for the police officers that lost their lives. I wept for their families," Ella Mcgill-Mongo said. "We seek to find a common ground. One thing about the common ground is that God is our source."
Several pastors prayed at the vigil. Pastor Harold Vanarsdale of Christ Cathedral of Killeen said that prayer was the only thing that could change the situation.
"The way will deal with this is by praying," Vanarsdale said. "We are being proactive to try to prevent incidents like that from coming here. We just don't want that here in our backyard."
But the community also made it clear they stood with their own police. NAACP President Tanieka Moultrie said the Killeen police have worked to forge a partnership with the community.
"When I became president of the NAACP he (the police chief) brought me in, asked me if I had any issues or concerns, and let me know if there was something I needed don't hesitate to give him a call," Moultrie said. "Our police chief and staff take care of issues right away."
Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said he checks in with the NAACP and other community organizations multiple times a year to try and catch problems before they start.
"We interact throughout the course of the year, not just when things are going bad," Chief Baldwin said. "If we are going to look to the future we need to understand each others perspectives."
The Killeen Police Department will be holding their bi-annual community forum to discuss community issues Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Killeen Police Department.