Baylor prays for Sutherland Springs; local student shares story

Senior Video Production Specialist in the department of Baylor Marketing and Communications Matthew Aughtry leaves a kind note for the residents of Sutherland after the vigil held in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center Wednesday afternoon. 

Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Journalist

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Members of the Baylor community came together at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center Chapel Wednesday to pray and show support for those affected by the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Sutherland Springs junior Ashton Huth said that the prayer service meant a lot to him, especially since there are so many schools that brush these incidents off or try to politicize it.

The brief service that was led by the Chaplain’s Office focused on dealing with the grieving process and coming together as Christians to support each other

Huth said that it is important for Baylor—as a Christian institution—to remember those who lost their lives, go through the steps it takes to grieve properly and lift it all up to God.

“It’s times like this I am glad that I go to a Christian University that doesn’t have to hide faith but embraces it in the face of tragedy,” Huth said.

Katy freshman Emmanuel Arredondo said that it’s important for Baylor to come together in times of tragedy because it shows that the whole university cares.

Huth said that he has felt a lot of support from the Baylor community, not just from the prayer service but from his professors, students and faculty as well.

One of his professors ended class early, walked him to a meeting and sat with him the whole time, Huth said.

There was a banner at the prayer service that students, faculty and staff could sign to send thoughts of love and healing to the people of Sutherland Springs.

It was already filled with signatures after a few minutes and Huth said that by the end of the day, there probably was not any white space left.

Harker Heights sophomore Jazmine Reed called the mass shooting an awful tragedy and said that she can’t imagine the feeling of those in the Sutherland Springs community.

Growing up, Huth lived less than two minutes away and could see the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs from his front porch.

In the past, when the church’s pastor had gone out of town, he would ask Huth’s father to fill in as a guest pastor. The head pastor was out of town when the mass shooting occurred, however, hehad asked the associate pastor to fill in, Huth said.

“My dad was almost the man in the pulpit,” Huth said. “He could have asked my dad to fill in. That could have been a possibility and I thank God that he didn’t but at the same time I feel bad for the family and the pastor that were there because he ended up passing away as well as his wife, his son and three of his grandchildren.”

Huth’s father and younger brother were attending another church on the other side of town that weekend. However, due to an illness, Huth’s mother had to stay at home and was there alone less than two minutes away when the mass shooting occurred.

When he heard that the gunman had fled the scene, he was terrified that the gunman would flee in his mother’s direction. Instead, the gunman ended up running the other direction which was closer to Huth’s grandparents’ home.

At the time of the tragedy, Huth was most concerned about his family’s safety but a lot of his friends attended that church—some who were killed and injured.

While Huth was originally planning to go to the Baylor vs. Tech game Saturday, in light of this event he decided he is going to go home on Friday.

“I’m going to go home and be with my family,” Huth said. “I’ve never wanted to see them more in my life.”

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