Billy Graham Chaplains Deploy to San Jose, California

Billy Graham Chaplains Deploy to San Jose, California

Crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) have deployed to San Jose, California, after a gunman killed nine people at a light rail facility Wednesday morning.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in San Jose Wednesday morning,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the BG-RRT. “Our hearts are broken for all of the families who lost loved ones and we are sending our team of crisis-trained chaplains to offer emotional and spiritual care to the community during this time of grief.”

The deceased, all males, ranged in age from 29 to 63, according to Santa Clara County Office of the Medical Examiner. Employees with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) were among those killed.  

The gunman, also an employee with the Santa Clara VTA, is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to officials with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. He has been identified as Samuel Cassidy and was armed with multiple weapons, authorities said.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into an international network of chaplains in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia who are trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 550 disaster sites across the globe, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes. 

This is the Rapid Response Team’s third deployment to a mass shooting this year. Trained chaplains were also sent to Boulder, Colorado, in March and Indianapolis in April.

The BG-RRT’s Mobile Ministry Center will be open in San Jose as a safe space for residents to process this latest tragedy. 

“We want them to know that God still loves them and cares about them, even as they are in the midst of such great pain,” Holland said. 

Franklin Graham posted on Facebook: “Join me in praying for the families and loved ones of victims of the mass shooting today in San Jose.” He added that chaplains would pray with and minister to families, first responders, and the community who are shocked and grieving.

Photo: Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/Newscom

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