Prayer vigil held for Independence officer shot, fighting to recover from critical injuries

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A prayer vigil was held at New Hope Baptist Church in Independence Thursday night. Pastor Darren Tharp went to Centerpoint Hospital earlier in the day to pray with Officer Tom Wagstaff’s family, whom he'd never met.

“As I left there I was weeping literally and just broken hearted for them and I said we need to do something.”

“I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring for this poor family, you do Lord," Pastor Tharp told the congregation.

Pastor Tharp said hallways around Wagstaff's hospital room were filled with police officers.

“The message is Wagstaff family we care about you, you are important to us, you are important to our community. We hurt with you, we grieve with you and law enforcement officers we pray for you, not just now but always,” Pastor Tharp said.

Security guard Russ Ramos offered prayers, “it does give me pause to think they are facing on purpose what I might come across by accident.”

Church member Dave Bush joined others in their support.

“It meant a lot to me to be able to pray for that gentleman and his family we need to just like the Bible says we need to hold them up to a greater honor,” he said.

Everyone left the church with a blue ribbon, like the ones tied around trees and telephone poles outside the church. The pastor also offered instructions to shake a police officer’s hand, or thank him or her for what they do. Pastor Tharp called Wagstaff a brave officer, who likely saved the life of the homeowner who was tied up.

No offering was taken at the vigil. Instead the Pastor encouraged people to donate to the GoFundMe page set up for Officer Wagstaff’s medical bills.