LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - A community is in mourning following the death of a 17-year-old student at Lee's Summit North High School on Friday. After a single gunshot rang out school was evacuated and students were sent home. Police later revealed a female student had taken her own life.
Following the early dismissal several students came across the street to Deerbook Covenant Church to pray and grieve together.
"Young Life has a strong presence at North High School, and it was their suggestion to open the doors. A number of students came and just spent some time here directly after that supporting each other, and out of that they created an evening event," said Pastor Roger Gilbert, Senior Pastor at Deerbrook Covenant Church.
An evening prayer service scheduled from 7 - 9pm was designed to give hope to those feeling hopeless in the wake of this tragedy.
"We wanted to create an environment where students feel welcome and safe to mourn and to hurt and to ask the hard questions. [We're] Not promising answers but promising hope and listening ears," said Ross Glazner, Volunteer Leader for Lee’s Summit Young Life group.
Many attending Friday nights service say teenage years can be some of the most difficult.
"We have lots of students that are dealing with this, and it's hitting them home because they've been there. We want students to know that they're not alone in this and that there are people that truly do sincerely care about them, and mean it when they say we're here for you," Glazner explained.
As the evening service wrapped up, church leaders say they would like to see prayers continue and for kindness to spread.
"We want kids to see that they can play a part in loving, play a part in accepting and also that they have the resources," said Glazner.
In addition to Friday evening's prayer service, the school district provided counselors to students and staff who wanted to talk after the early dismissal. They plan to continue offering that support to students and staff next week as well.