BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge church had long planned to host a Sunday service honoring first responders on March 19, and when East Baton Rouge Deputy Sgt. Shawn Anderson was gunned down in the line of duty just 12 hours before the service, it was clear their mission to honor was now one to heal.
"He is the God of all comfort. That's what the Bible calls him. The same comfort that he comforts us with we're able to comfort others with," said Gospel Light Baptist Church senior pastor Roger Waggoner.
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The service was something both Waggoner and youth pastor Tyler Scott had wanted to do since the August flooding.
"It's what God has laid on our hearts," said Scott. "This morning all we want to do is be a blessing to the first responders and we hope they benefit them."
"There's no words to describe how to get over this. We just have to take the next step and keep moving and keep looking out for each other," said EBRSO Deputy Lieutenant Chad Parker.
Parker was among a handful of deputies who had planned to attend the service. Outside the church, they shared emotional embraces and prayed together.
With many questions still surrounding Anderson's death, the second slain deputy in less than a year, the pastor here says there's only one answer he can offer.
"Romans 8:28 says for we know God works all things out together for good to them who love him, for them who are called to his purpose," said Waggoner. "We know that the devil means for bad or what happens for bad God always works them out for good if we look for God in that."
Anderson, 43, was a near 18-year veteran of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. He was shot while responding to a rape report late on the night of Saturday, March 18. The investigation into his death is still ongoing.