LCC K-9 Ministry Teams and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry Comfort Hurting Community Following Shooting in San Jose, California
9 People Killed, Many Injured
232nd Mass Shooting Reported This Year
At 6:45 am on Wednesday, May 26, shooting began at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose, California, during the morning shift change. At least eight of the nine people reported killed were employees, and many other employees were injured. The shooter, who was also an employee, took his own life as first responders arrived. Victim age ranges are from 29 to 63 years old.
In less than 24 hours, Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and LCC Director of K-9 Ministries, Anastasia, received an invite for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs from Pastor Andy Koschmann from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Los Gatos, California, and Rev. Michael Lange, LCMS District President for California, Nevada, and Hawaii District.
Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Crisis Response Coordinator with LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Aaron (St. John – Napa Valley, California), Micah (Light of the Valley – Elk Grove, California), Rahab (St. Andrew – Stockton, California), and Reuben (First Lutheran – Yuba City, California), along with their ministry teams, deployed to be present with employees, throughout the community, and first responders who were trying to cope with another mass shooting tragedy.
On Friday, May 28, Micah and Rahab Comfort Dogs, with their ministry teams, were present at the vigil at Sikh Gurdwara San Jose. The teams were there to honor the victims of the VTA shooting and support the hurting community.
Rahab’s Comfort Dog handler shared this reflection, “Saturday was my first time deploying and the entire day gave clarity to the word “Presence” that I have heard over and over since joining the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. I think being present at the vigil was very much appreciated by those who attended. It opened doors and gave some much-needed comfort.”
Several families with young kids, as well as young adults, spent time with Micah and Rahab during the vigil.
On Saturday, May 29, the teams set up Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses at a memorial in the VTA courtyard headquarters for staff and families to sign.
In addition, Aaron and Micah Comfort Dogs, with their handlers, visited Yerba Buena High School. Adrian Balleza, one of the shooting victims, was a graduate of the high school, and a memorial is laid there in his honor. Aaron and Micah gave lots of love and comfort to the high school staff.
On Saturday, May 29, Micah, Rahab, and Rueben Comfort Dogs spent time with the San Jose 911 Call Center dispatchers. One of them said this was the first time she has seen smiles in days. The Comfort Dogs were certainly mood changers for the staff.
There was a lady who was afraid of dogs. She observed for quite some time, then eventually stood behind the dogs for a photo and finally got brave enough to pet Reuben. Talk about a smile!
During their deployment in California, the LCC K-9 Ministry teams were also present at San Jose Police & Fire Departments, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Los Gatos, Vasona Park comforting all those who needed it following the tragic shooting.
LCC’s K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never charges those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. Please keep the San Jose, California community in your prayers.
April 15 - FedEx Shooting, Indianapolis, Indiana
Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams immediately responded after the horrific shooting that took place at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday, April 16, resulting in the loss of eight precious lives.
Watch the video below to see how LCC Ministries work together to bring comfort and healing to the community during this difficult time.
The LCC K-9 Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry were invited by Pastor Dan Hauser of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Naomi, to be present throughout the community with employees, residents, and first responders who are trying to cope with this senseless tragedy.
In the aftermath of the FedEx shootings in Indianapolis, eight LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Benjamin (LCC Staff), Emma (LCC Staff), Hannah (LCC Staff), Isaiah (Trinity - Hobart, Indiana), Jared (Holy Cross - Fort Wayne, Indiana), Mercy (Our Savior Lutheran Church and School - Louisville, Kentucky), Naomi (Holy Cross - Indianapolis, Indiana), and Rosie (Atonement - Columbus, Ohio) and their teams arrived, bringing the love of Jesus to all that they met. At two vigils honoring the victims, the pain and fear were evident. The Comfort Dogs gave people a way to release those emotions, if only for a few minutes. The Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC) gave them a place to express their sympathies.
These two ministries worked hand in hand to start the healing process for a grieving community. In addition to the vigils, the dogs visited multiple fire stations that had responded that night and the Marion County 911 Call Center. Some of these first responders just needed to talk about that night, and the dogs were excellent listeners, as were their handlers. Other visits included the Marion County Coroner’s Office (day and night shifts) and Eskenazi Hospital, where the dogs were a much-welcomed comfort due to the devastating week they all had.
One of the 19-year-old victims had worked as a lifeguard at the Indy Island Aquatic Center, in addition to her FedEx job. Many of the employees at the center were high school age or recent graduates. The dogs arrived there with mini stuffed dogs and an HMC heart. The young employees came into the room with heavy hearts. The dogs were present for each of them and helped them open up to talk among themselves or to a handler about their friend or sit quietly with a dog and mourn.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams saw the healing process begin for many of the hurting as they broke down barriers to allow for the release of some of their pain, wherever they were. Christ was most certainly present during all of these encounters.
From all the hurt and shock of this tragedy at the FedEx facility, relationships have been made. LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Naomi (Holy Cross - Indianapolis, Indiana) and her team will continue to make regular visits to the Marion County coroner’s office, 911 Call Center, and the Decatur Fire Departments. Many other places the Comfort Dogs visited expressed that they would love to have at least a monthly visit with Naomi and her team
April 18 - The Sommers House Shooting, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Early Sunday morning, April 18, three people were killed, and three were injured during a shooting at The Somers House in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the invitation of Rev. Kara Baylor of Carthage College, Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were present with students and staff on Tuesday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 21, during finals week. Carthage College is located near The Somers House and frequented by students, some of whom were present during the shooting.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Charity (Brookfield Lutheran – Brookfield, Wisconsin), Malachi (St. Matthew – Hawthorn Woods, Illinois), Mary (St. Paul’s – Janesville, Wisconsin), Rhoda (Prince of Peace – Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin), Tobias (Lord of Glory – Grayslake, Illinois), and their ministry teams spent time comforting students and staff during this stressful week.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers provided a gentle ear to listen to the students share their fears about the shooting and how the pandemic has emotionally affected their learning and motivation. The K-9 Ministry teams also met some of the baseball players whose teammates were at the bar during the incident. Many students welcomed the opportunity to pet the Comfort Dogs and talk.
The students and staff of Carthage also signed three Hearts of Mercy & Compassion for each of the victims who lost their lives in the shooting. The LCC Ministries were honored to serve the Carthage students and staff during this difficult time.
March 22 - King Soopers Store Shooting, Boulder, Colorado
Since the mass shooting at King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Cubby and Devorah (Redeemer - Fort Collins, Colorado) continue to be present for the community sharing the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Cubby and Devorah and their team have been invited back every month to visit the Boulder County Coroner's Office, Boulder 911 Dispatch/Police Department, and Boulder Rural Fire Protection Services.
“We are very pleased to have made these connections in the Boulder Community. We also plan to visit the King Soopers employees that we met at a neighboring store where we presented two Hearts of Mercy & Compassion to two special employees and drop in at some of the local fire departments that we visited while deployed. We want to continue to show our love and support to this community for a long time."
LCC's K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never go where we are not invited and never charge those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
LCC K-9 Ministry & Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Were Present with Grieving Students and Staff at Judson University, Elgin, Illinois
On Monday, April 26, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their teams were invited to be present for the staff and students of Judson University, Elgin, Illinois, who are mourning the loss of students Nathanael and Dallas who were killed in a tragic car accident.
The following LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams shared the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need:
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Chloe (Lord of Life – LaFox)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Julia (King of Glory – Elgin)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Kye (Immanuel - Belvidere)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Myra (St. Andrew - Park Ridge)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Samson (Zion – Marengo)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Tobias (Lord of Glory – Grayslake)
LCC's K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never go where we are not invited and never charge those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. Please keep the family, friends, and classmates of Nathanael and Dallas in your prayers.
Without our generous donors, LCC would not be able to serve, as we NEVER charge those we serve, responding within 24 hours of an invite (often much sooner).
In the past 45 days, LCC has been called to serve at two mass shootings and many other crisis events.
32 hearts and 22 crosses/markers have been deployed in crisis response:
14 hearts, 10 crosses: King Soopers, Boulder, Colorado (mass shooting)
12 hearts, 8 markers: FedEx, Indianapolis, Indiana (mass shooting)
3 hearts, 1 cross: Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan, Wisconsin (death of a student)
1 heart, 1 cross: Chicago, Illinois (death of a teenager)
2 hearts, 2 crosses: Judson University, Elgin, Illinois (death of two students)
An additional 22 hearts have been presented: 13 thin blue line hearts honoring the service of law enforcement officers, 2 thin red line hearts honoring the service of firefighters, and 7 thin yellow line hearts honoring the service of 911 dispatchers.
Numerous hearts have also been presented to honor care giving staff at long-term care facilities, nurses and hospital staff for their dedication to patients, to honor the lives of people who have passed, and as a support to family and friends in grief.
Each Heart of Mercy and Compassion carries a cost of $30.00. Each Crosses for Losses carries a cost of $60.00. These costs include a steep increase in the cost of lumber, which has been brought on by the pandemic.
LCC is grateful for your partnership and continued support as we serve together in Jesus' name.