Evangelist and Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham is speaking out against the violence perpetrated by some of the protesters in Charlotte this week, and has called for prayer in the midst of the unfolding chaos.
Writing on his Facebook page Thursday, Graham said, "Another young man was shot and killed by someone in the hostile crowd. Looting, vandalism, random violence, mayhem prevailed. ... all under the guise of a demonstration."
Protester Justin Carr was shot during Wednesday night's protests, and according to CNN, "because the crowd was too thick for paramedics to access the scene, he had to be evacuated by a SWAT armored personnel carrier."
"That's not a demonstration — that's a riot. What does it help? Haven't people learned by now that this doesn't accomplish any good for anyone?" Graham asked.
"What does work is prayer," he continued. "And I encourage individuals, pastors, and churches of all denominations across the city of Charlotte, the state, and across the country to pray. Our nation is in trouble not just politically and economically — it's in trouble racially, and only God can fix it."
Civil unrest broke out in North Carolina's largest city in response to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott Tuesday afternoon. Some say he was unarmed while others contend he was holding a small handgun when he was killed. According to CNN, Scott's family said the recently released video of the incident is unclear as to whether or not he had a gun.
On Wednesday night, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a group Franklin Graham oversees, deployed several Rapid Response Team chaplains across Charlotte to support and pray with residents.
"Our goal coming out here today was to have a ministry of presence," said Kevin Williams, one of the chaplains in the video Graham posted underneath his Facebook comments.
Prayer ministers wearing orange vests were stationed in nearby parks and streets to share the love and compassion of Christ in the midst of the chaos and sorrow.
In a subsequent video posted Friday on Billy Graham's Facebook page, Williams further acknowledged the frustration level in the city, but added that he sees it as an opportunity to advance the Gospel.
"There is no mistakes in our God," Williams said. "He directs our steps." The footage then shows Williams gathering a team around to pray with Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.
"God loves you, and so do we," Williams told Roberts.
"Jesus Christ is the light, He brings light into a dark situation," he concluded.
Charlotte is home both to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Billy Graham Library.