Prayer Service Held For Fallen Sebastian County Corporal

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Grace Community Church in Fort Smith opened it's doors Wednesday (Aug. 10) for community members to pray after the fatal shooting of Sebastian County Sheriff's Cpl. Bill Cooper.

Fort Smith community member Bob Newbold helped plan the prayer service as a hope to bring the community together to show support for Officer Cooper.

"All of us have seen what is going on around the United States," Newbold said. "The police force and the sheriff's department, those are our first line people. Our first responders, they put their lives on the line every day for our safety. I'm hoping all of Fort Smith will come here or go somewhere to pray for this boy's family and just show support in general."

Newbold had the opportunity to meet Cooper through a neighborhood watch program.

"I met Officer Cooper two years ago and he was such a jolly fellow," Newbold said. "It's so sad to see his life end like this and hopefully people will come together."

Dozens of officers, friends, and supporters also gathered outside of the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office tonight (Aug. 10) to honor Deputy Cooper and show support for his family and friends.

A memorial has been set up outside of the Sheriff's Office with flowers and candles.

Those attending these gatherings say it has been incredibly difficult.

"It's really not good for your heart or your mind when something like this happens," supporter, Bruce Wade said. "You never know what kind of situation an officer can walk into when he's on call."

Former Fort Smith Police Department detective, David Young said Cooper was the type of man who came to every event in the community and as a former law-enforcement member, it feels good to be supported by everyone.

"There's a lot that just the normal public doesn't understand what we do every day," Young said. "I think us just being able to understand each other, our own emotions, and our own feelings kind of helps when we do the job every day."

Other churches such as Evangel Temple and First Baptist Church also discussed the events in their Wednesday night services.

Another prayer service for the officers will be held Thursday morning (Aug. 11) at Momentum Church in Van Buren.

Other churches throughout the area are planning to have prayers services later in the week.