HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - An overflow crowd filled a small room in Haleiwa, members of the North Shore Christian Fellowship.
They had come in shock and sadness Friday evening for a private prayer service for Toby Stangel, the son of Pastor Mike Stangel, and the victims of the early morning shooting spree in which the younger Stangel is the suspected gunman.
"I think we're all just devastated, including Mike and Karen," said associate pastor Jason Simpson. "I've talked to them a couple of times today, and they're just telling us that they're grieving and they're praying for the families right now, especially the family that lost a mom and a wife."
Knowing that Toby Stangel is the suspect in a spree that left one dead and others wounded is something beyond the congregation's comprehension. They did the only thing they could do right now: to gather and to pray.
"This is something that has rocked and shattered our community and our church, and so we want to meet and pray together, and we're going to bring those families together before the Lord," Simpson said.
They shed tears for the families of the victims, and prayed for Pastor Mike Stangel, who was at Disneyland on vacation with his wife and grandchildren when he got the news.
The congregation also prayed for the husband and ten children of Tammy Nguyen, 54, who died in the shootings. And they prayed for Toby, the wayward son, and for themselves.
"I recognize that there are families here that are hurting tonight," Simpson told the gathering. "You've known Toby since he was a young boy. You babysat him. Your kids played with him. It would just as easily have been one of our own kids."
The church has another prayer service scheduled Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Haleiwa Gym for the victims and the Stangels.
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