Two confirmed deaths are a result of a shooting that occurred June 7 during a funeral service held at Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain. Rev. Kenneth Samuel said he had just finished the last rites of 19-year-old Ryan Guider when shots rangng out.
“It’s so tragic to have violence after someone has just been laid to rest.” an obviously shaken Samuel said. “The shooters didn’t take heed to my message of non-violence. We’ve got to find a better way. The message has to be peace,” he continued. “How could they have been listening and then have this happen?” Samuel questioned.
Witness Clara Bryant said she was leaving the sanctuary when she heard two shots from the parking lot as she was walking out. She then ran back inside the church. Bryant said she thinks the alleged shooters were friends of the deceased and that the shootings may have been in retaliation for the death of Guider. “I just don’t know what to say,” she said.
Another witness, Craig Sharpe of Decatur, who identified himself as a friend of the Guider family, said just as the service had ended a fist fight had broken out. “There were people rolling around on the ground”, said Sharpe. “Then the shooting started, people were running and falling down. Most ran back inside the church”
Sharpe said there were several people attending the funeral service who were wearing colored bandannas and that he suspects the killings were gang related.
Sharpe said only Guider’s immediate family members were allowed to leave the church and that all other attendees of the funeral were made to stay at the church. He said at the time, there were still a lot of people inside who did not want to come out.