Rockford pastor holds gun violence vigil after shooting near his church

Emmanuel Lutheran Church pastor joins activists to call for peace.
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Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 8:59 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A recent string of shootings in Rockford prompted one local pastor to gather the community not only in prayer but also a plea for peace. Pastor Frank Langholf of Emmanuel Lutheran Church said the latest shooting hit close to home for him as it happened down the street from his church.

“That comes really close to home,” said Langholf.

Seven shootings have been reported throughout July. The latest on July 16 happened near Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue, just down the street from Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Langholf said enough is enough.

“We need to end the gun violence,” he said.

Around two dozen concerned community members joined with the pastor in prayer before walking to the intersection where that July 16 shooting, that left multiple people hurt, happened.

“Situations like this happen all too often,” said Bryan Harrington, a leader for Live Free Rockford.

Live Free Rockford is part of a statewide organization working to end gun violence, an issue that hits close to home.

“I made it a personal mission to make change in my community,” said Harrington.

In 2007, Harrington was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of killing a man in Rockford.

“A situation like mine shouldn’t happen. A child shouldn’t be fourteen with a gun, right? A child shouldn’t be able to perpetrate violence or receive violence,” said Harrington.

Now more than ever, people need to take a stand against the violence happening around the city and be a part of the solution, said Harrington.

“As a community we’ve got to hold each other accountable. We’ve got to say enough is enough, right? Because we’re dying at alarming rates,” he said. “Rockford had its worst year when it comes to murders last year, and that should be enough.”

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