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Bogue Chitto community unites over shared loss

A gathering Friday night in Bogue Chitto is planned to help bring a community together to triumph over tragedy.

The goal for organizers is unity for the people of Bogue Chitto.

The community was rocked Memorial Day weekend by a string of shootings that left eight people dead — Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr and seven others who were either related or friends of others killed that Saturday night and Sunday morning — Barbara Mitchell and her sister Brenda May and her daughter Toccarra May, Jordan Blackwell and his cousin Austin Edwards, and Sheila Burage and her husband, Ferrel Burage.

Mitchell’s son-in-law, Willie Cory Godbolt, of Bogue Chitto, is facing a capital murder charge and seven charges of first degree murder.

Rev. Shon Blackwell, who serves as an assistant pastor at New Zion Church in Bogue Chitto, lost his son Jordan in the shootings Sunday morning. He will speak along with other pastors in the community.

“The dynamics of it are wonderful because you’ve got black and white coming together,” Blackwell said. “We just want to promote God in this tragic situation and triumph in praise and worship.”

Blackwell hopes people will come to know Christ as their Savior during the event and that the community will be united as one.

“Sometimes it takes bad things to bring people together to do wonderful things. You have black and white kids that play sports together, work together and date each other. This event is bringing people together to praise God together,” said Blackwell.

Promoting and bringing awareness of Christ is the driving point for Blackwell and other pastors who will attend the event.

“What happened to my son, my nephew and cousins and officer Durr is tragic,” said Blackwell. “It’s a tragic moment, a lot of people are not saying it but if you do the research on the people that were murdered, every last one of them was saved. That brings closure to a bad moment but the happiness is that we get to know that they died in Christ and they’re in Heaven.”

The event will take place in the Bogue Chitto gym from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be several pastors speaking at the event, as well as performances by the Well Worship Team, Jubilee Performing Arts School and others. The event is free and open to the public.

Organizers are asking the public to donate concession items such as drinks, brownies, chips and cookies which will be available free of charge along with jambalaya at the event.

Items can be dropped off at the Bogue Chitto gym after 10 a.m. Friday.

“A lot of people feel like since we’re going through this with and my son and the rest of the victims, that we should be down and negative but we’re still promoting God,” Blackwell said. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful event. I’m really looking forward to it.”