Following the police killing of three black men in California in a span of five days last week, more than 30 Christian pastors from various races and denominations in San Diego led the faithful in praying for peace, unity and truth in their community over the weekend.
First to be killed was Alfred Olango who was fatally shot on Tuesday by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, triggering three days of angry and sometimes violent protests, ABC News reports.
Olango was allegedly shot when he took a "shooting stance," pointing an electronic cigaret device at an officer.
After Olango's killing, two other black men were shot dead by California police officers.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill.
Then on Saturday, the police shot an 18-year-old black man Carnell Snell Jr. near his home in Los Angeles.
Saturday's prayer gathering for unity, which was held at the El Cajon Police Department headquarters at 100 Civic Way, was led by Pastor Rolland Slade of Meridian Baptist Church, Pastor David Hoffman of Foothills Christian Church in El Cajon; Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church; and David Joseph of Last Harvest Arabic Church.
In his prayer, Slade asked for strength for the family of Olango, the first black man to killed by police last week, as well as the policemen from El Cajon. He acknowledged how the recent unfortunate event has heavily affected the community.
"The events of Tuesday, Sept. 27 were tragic and they must be acknowledged. We, Lord – the region, the community, the neighborhood and the family of Alfred Olango – have been dramatically changed," Slade prayed, as quoted by NBC San Diego.
Olango was shot last Tuesday by two police officers in the parking lot of a shopping center, near a taco shop, in the 800 block of Broadway. His death prompted some people to troop to the streets and condemn the police's use of force on suspects.
The Christian pastor also asked God for "truth, transparency and transformation," adding that the issues currently dividing the community can only be solved by being transparent and by not having hidden agenda.
Hoffman, for his part, prayed to God for continued peace and order in the El Cajon community.
"We pray that you would thwart those who would bring unrest, damage and chaos to our city and our county," the Christian pastor said during the event.
Praying in both English language and Arabic, Pastor Joseph meanwhile sought strength for the faithful, noting how we live now at a time of "spiritual warfare."