Words can not begin to express our sorrow and shock over the news of the senseless tragedy that unfolded on Sunday, March 29 at Pinelake Health and Rehab (www.peakresourcesinc.com/nursing/pinelake.html) in Carthage, North Carolina.

As you are probably already aware, a gunman barged into the nursing home Sunday morning and went on a shooting rampage that killed seven residents and a nurse who cared for them.

Authorities said Robert Stewart also wounded three other individuals, including the Carthage police officer who confronted him in a hallway and stopped the brutal attack. Officials said the massacre could have been bloodier if the officer had not managed to subdue Stewart.

The victims included Pinelake residents:

  • Tessie Garner, age 88
  • Lillian Dunn, age 89
  • Jessie Musser, age 88
  • Bessie Hendrick, age 78
  • John Goldston, age 78
  • Margaret Johnson, age 89 and
  • Louise Decker, age 98.

The nurse who was killed, Jerry Avent, L.P.N., was only 39 years old.  One Internet report we read tonight stated that he was shot nearly 30 times! This nurse and the officer who subdued the gunman are truly heros of  the highest caliber.

Please join me in praying for the surviviors (residents, management, staff and resident families). Please pray for crisis rounselors, community members and all other individuals impacted by this horrible crime.

Please pray for the safetyof ALL nursing home residents. Unlike hospitals, most nursing homes do not have security guards on duty. Some nursing home units (and some entire nursing homes as well) are protected only by a key pad entry system. Should such a system be mandatory for all nursing home facilities to protect residents and staff?  Should other security measures be required of facilities?  I don’t ask these questions to infer that nursing homes are knowingly neglegent regarding safety, but rather to raise the question of what (if anything) can be done to prevent similar tragedies from ever happening again.

And for all of the victims of Sunday’s shooting, we pray…

“Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
And let perpetual Light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God,
Rest in peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”