After Washington high school shooting, churches open their doors to offer prayer and support

As the small town of Marysville, Washington state, continues to reel from a fatal high school shooting last Friday, churches are doing all they can to comfort and heal the heartbroken community.

Hospital officials announced late on Sunday that a 14-year-old girl wounded in the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School died from her injuries.

She was identified as freshman Gia Soriano and her death brings the total number killed in the shooting to three.

Her family said in a statement: "We are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Gia is our beautiful daughter and words cannot express how much we will miss her."

The dead include the gunman Jaylen Fryberg, who entered the school canteen on Friday morning and proceeded to open fire on students, before turning the gun on himself. The other victim has been identified as 14-year-old Zoe R Galasso.

Three were seriously injured in the shooting, including two of Fryberg's cousins, 15-year-old Andrew Fryberg and 14-year-old Nate Hatch.

Andrew Fryberg and the third wounded student, 14-year-old Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, remain in a critical condition in intensive care.

With classes at the school cancelled all this week, local churches have opened their doors to offer a space for prayer, reflection and support.

Hillside Church and AC3 were among those from the Marysville Area Pastors Association partnering to provide a "safe and welcoming space" for MPHS students, families and neighbours.

AC3's Living Room Coffee House was being opened from 9am to 9pm throughout the week, and offering a free breakfast and lunch to MPHS students.

It has also placed volunteers on three hour shifts as part of a ministry of "presence".

The Grove Church is offering a similar space by opening its doors from 7:30am to 9pm throughout this week and offering breakfast, lunch and snacks free of charge.

"We stand together united and our doors will be open," the church said on its Facebook page.

"It's a place to come and find support, prayer, counselling, or just hang out and be with others…Let's Let Love Win."

The local Starbucks on 88th Street is also offering free coffee to school students, staff and first responders this week.

The Grove Church was packed on Friday night for a vigil in the hours immediately following the shooting.

Lead pastor Nick Baumgart shares his thoughts in the video below:

AC3 pastor Dan Hazen reflects on the shooting in this video below: