* * *
• Video Below: Wednesday night prayer service
* * *
More than 200 people gathered Wednesday night for a prayer service Christ Community Church quickly put together after the shootings at Millard South High School.
They prayed for Millard South Principal Curtis Case, who with his wife and three children belong to Christ Community, an evangelical church in Omaha's Old Mill area.
They prayed for Assistant Principal Vicki Kaspar, who died Wednesday night from injuries suffered in the shooting, and for her family.
They prayed for the students and staff of Millard South, dozens of whom were in the church.
They prayed for the larger Omaha community, which the Rev. Mark Ashton said is broken in many ways, with many students feeling lonely and with so much crime.
And they prayed for the teenager, Robert Butler Jr., 17, who police say shot Kaspar and Case and then killed himself.
“He's got a family, and they're grieving,” the Rev. Mark Ashton said. “Pray for them and (God's) redemptive work among them.”
Omaha's Westside Church also had a community gathering Wednesday for the students, staff and families of Millard South.
Case and his wife, Amy, are active members of Christ Community Church, Ashton said. She volunteers in the church's children's ministry, and their children are involved.
“He is very devoted to his school — not just as a vocation, but as a passion and a ministry,” Ashton said.
The pastor noticed at least six principals and a dozen teachers at the prayer service. Among the Millard Public Schools teachers: Lisa and Jeff Banker. He teaches at Millard South, she at Montclair Elementary.
She was, she said, scared out of her mind during the lockdown Wednesday. She knew there had been a shooting at Millard South but couldn't reach her husband.
As members of Christ Community, the two felt it important to join in the prayer service.
“My husband said it meant a lot to see so many students come out to show they care, and so many administrators and former administrators from the district here,” Lisa Banker said.
McKenzie Mertz, 15, a Millard South sophomore, took comfort in the prayers and presence of friends.
“I felt like I needed to be with close friends and confide in them about it, and pray, and get rid of all my fears,” she said.
The prayer service helped, Mertz said, “But I'll still be a little bit frightened when I go back to school.”