Jan. 28-JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - Grieving community members and parishioners of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and surrounding congregations gathered on Friday to hold a vigil for the victim of Monday's murder in Johnstown's Moxham section and to pray for the neighborhood.
"We're trying the best we can do to be supportive," said the Rev. Matt Baum, pastor of St. Patrick's. He and other church leaders consulted on the matter and decided to hold the event to bring the community together.
Residents and parishioners gathered on the sidewalk in front of St. Patrick's, 609 Park Ave., to sing hymns, recite Scripture and pray - just feet from where authorities found Marvin L. Price, 41, shot to death in a vehicle on Monday.
Police are still searching for the suspect in the murder.
"It's terrible that it's happening in our area," Rosanne Cotchen said. She and her husband, Robert, are members of St. Patrick's.
The Richland Township residents said it was a shame another homicide took place in the city, but Robert Cotchen noted that he wasn't surprised because of the amount of violence that's happened in Johnstown within the past year.
Cambria County saw 10 homicides in 2022.
Robert Cotchen said he thinks there should be more strict punishments for repeat offenders to avoid these type of issues. He also said he hopes that additional Johnstown police officers are hired so that there can be more of a presence in places such as Moxham to deter future violence.
Dana Harris, of the city's Hornerstown section, said it's scary that a murder took place in broad daylight in front of a church - police responded at around 2 p.m. to the incident.
Rashaun Harris, her husband, who attended the vigil with her on Friday, said he was shocked when he found out about the shooting.
"I can't believe it happened right outside our church," he said. "It's just crazy."
Throughout the hour-long event, the pastors from neighborhood churches took turns at the microphone to talk to the crowd and read psalms.
"We believe our best days in Moxham are ahead," said the Rev. Joshua Thomas, pastor of Life Church's New Hope campus.
Another pastor challenged the community to pray for whatever street they live on and for evil to be cast out of that area.
Baum also reminded the attendees that it's important to remember they "have no idea the situation people are going through" and invited them to pray not only for Price and his family, but also for those who inflict violence on others.
"I certainly encourage all of you - continue to be the light in Moxham," he said.
The event ended with the group singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth," in which Baum highlighted the verse, "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me."
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