As two families prepare to bury their loved ones killed in a Texas church shooting, the minister of that church is asking for continued prayers as well as forgiveness.
Britt Farmer, senior minister of West Freeway Church of Christ, spoke to reporters Monday night to express his grief for those they have lost and gratitude for those who have reached out in the wake of the deadly shooting.
The victims were identified as Anton “Tony” Wallace, 64, of Fort Worth, and Richard White, 67, of River Oaks, in a statement released by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday.
“I lost two great men, friends. Men that I consider putting above myself, who did the same for me,” Farmer said. “We ask for your continued prayers for the White family, for the Wallace family and for us as a spiritual family.”
’Always my role model’
Wallace was a deacon and longtime congregant of the church, Wallace’s daughter, Sarah Wallace, told CNN.
“He always wanted us to be in the church, he was always my role model,” the grieving daughter said. “We just say God wanted him more than we did. They couldn’t handle his perfectness here.”
At the media briefing, Farmer called White his best friend. He was an active volunteer with the church’s security team and “constantly put others first,” a statement from the White family read. He leaves behind a wife, parents, two brothers, three children and seven grandchildren, the statement said.
“He was a strong man of faith,” the family said.
White’s daughter, Misty York White, wrote on Facebook that her family is reeling.
“As we sit and watch information continue to unfold about the attack, we are stunned, confused and pained. The death, the police, the news media make this feel like a war zone,” she said, adding that her father was a true hero.
The congregation held a private worship service inside the sanctuary to pray for their fallen church members Monday night.
Afterward, Farmer spoke about both victims, saying that their deaths were a tragedy and he wasn’t prepared to take any questions from media until after they are both buried.
“We want this community to know that we’re strong, but we want to be strong for them and all those who come into our midst that we can wrap our arms of love around them,” Farmer said.
CNN’s Pierre Meilhan, Konstantin Toropin, Pamela Kirkland, Dianne Gallagher and Curt Devine contributed to this report.