WACO, Texas — As the Waco Police Department investigates the fifth murder in the city this year, Living Out Loud Youth Ministry is turning to their faith to help end the rise of violence in their community.
"When I see something happening in my community, it just really breaks my heart," Founder Tiffany Rumph told 25 News. "It's not based on one particular person, it's the overall picture."
The group hosted a community prayer vigil Thursday night at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live to pray for peace.
"We always continue to talk about it and we continue to say things on Facebook about it, but no one has ever put action to it," Rumph said. "We want to go ahead and put action to it and make a stand to see if we can resolve some of this issue and stop the violence."
During the vigil, organizers and ministers discussed the increase and violence and ways to make change.
"Before picking up a gun, we ask you to pray first. I guarantee God will give you the answer before you pull that trigger," Living Out Loud executive director Christopher Freeman told viewers.
Waco PD hosted a crime summit recently to address the rise in crime they've seen recently. Representatives told 25 News they hoped it would help them understand their community better.
"Getting out in the community talking one on one and trying to figure out what do these neighborhoods need and how can we fix that, how can we make these communities safer?" PIO Cierra Shipley said.
The department also discussed the topic during a weekly podcast. Assistant Chief Frank Gentsch said they are working hard to get criminals off the streets.
"We're collaborating with the District Attorney's office, the judges to keep these folks in jail and the detectives," he said. "They are aggressively investigating and following up all leads in reference to these types of offenses."
As police continue to investigate, the community will continue to pray.
"However long it takes, we will continue to pray until we see something done," Rumph said.
"We don't know what it feels like to lose a child. But we want you to know that we're standing here with you," Freeman said.
The group plans to continue to host similar weekly events on their Facebook page: Living Out Loud Youth Organization (Public) | Facebook