Gunshots fired at local church in Graceville

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GRACEVILLE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Churches are usually places of peace and worship, but on Saturday, members of one church in Graceville found their sanctuary struck by bullets.

Shots fired at local church in Graceville. (WJHG/WECP)

”When you come inside and you see all the holes in the walls, it kind of shakes your spirit,” said Kimberly Williams, Pastor of Salem African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Last weekend, leaders at Salem AME Church found bullet holes on doors, pews and other areas around their church.

Trustee Member Michael McClendon grew up coming to Salem AME and now brings his kids here. McClendon says he never imagined something like this could happen to his family’s church.

“It’s sad to think that someone would come to our little community to do this to something that is for the community. It’s heartbreaking,” said McClendon.

“I feel like the church was violated and disrespected,” said Williams.

Members say they don’t know how much damages are going to cost but they’re happy no one was around at the time of the shooting.

“We have youth, we have elderly that’s out here in the church. If some of them had been here during that time, who knows what would have happened,” said McClendon.

The congregation will have to worship at a different location while authorities investigate.

Members say even though they don’t know who is responsible, they have faith things will be okay.

“God has our back he’s our protector. Don’t let this action, this violation on the church deter you from coming in and worshiping God,” said Williams.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says it's investigating and trying to figure out a motive for the shooting along with other information.

Members say they’ve forgiven whoever fired on their church but ask they turn themselves in to authorities.

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