The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has sent chaplains to bring Christ’s comfort to the grieving community in Allen, Kentucky, where a shootout killed two law enforcement officers and injured five others.
A Billy Graham chaplain arrived in Allen on Friday, the day after the shootout at a house on Main Street where a K-9 police dog was also killed, said the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, in a statement.
With additional law enforcement chaplains, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is setting up a Mobile Ministry Center to provide a private setting for counsel and prayer, it added.
“Law enforcement in Floyd County has suffered a tragic loss. Our hearts are heavy to hear about this mass shooting in Allen, Kentucky,” said Josh Holland, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s international director. “We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to comfort people, listen and grieve with them, pray with them and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by this horrific tragedy.”
In the shootout, Floyd County Deputy William Petry, Prestonsburg Police Captain Ralph Frasure and Floyd County K-9 Unit Drago were killed.
The three officers who were injured include Constable Gary Wolfe, Floyd County Deputy Darrin Lawson and Floyd County Emergency Management Director Joe Reynolds. Several other officers had to receive treatment for glass, shrapnel and other injuries.
Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said the responding officers encountered “pure hell” when they arrived on the scene Thursday night.
“This is a tough morning for our commonwealth,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a social media post Friday morning. “Floyd County and our brave first responders suffered a tragic loss last night.”
The suspect, 49-year-old Lance Storz, who was in a house situated on a hill and carrying a high-power rifle, fired at the officers who had come to serve an emergency protection order against him, Judge-Executive Robby Williams said at a press conference Sunday afternoon, according to WOWK.
“Upon arrival, these officers did not know they were walking into a tactical ambush and that the shooter had an unabated field of fire of well over 200 yards,” Williams was quoted as saying. “The officers performed valiantly and did everything in their power to neutralize the suspect.”
A woman had called Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt’s office Thursday afternoon saying she received a text message from the suspect’s wife who had allegedly been held hostage along with her child and abused by her husband, the sheriff was quoted as saying.
After deputies took the mother and the child to a safe location to interview them while the suspect was asleep in the house, they sought to arrest the suspect which led to the shootout.
“Nobody in this world could ever imagine, that you could just walk to a coward behind a door, hiding, waiting on four people to give them no chance, no nothing, and just open the door and open up on them,” Hunt said.
Neighbors reported hiding in their homes as the gunfire echoed through the small town, and those at the scene described the incident as war-like, with a barrage of bullets creating chaos, the BGEA noted.