Witnesses Honor their Creeds
Members of the church, involuntarily thrust into the center of this horrific event, responed in varied and even polarized ways. A sharp divide can be seen in the response by church eyewitnesses and the reaction by church officials, none of whom witnessed the shooting.
Many of the eyewitnesses, having shown compassion to Woody by staying in the sanctuary with him, continued to honor his sanctuary request following the shooting by bearing witnesses to what they saw. Several met with friends of Woody to share what they witnessed and console them in their state of grief and trauma.
That compassion and sympathy was not shared by the church officials, who attempted to silence the witnesses and apparently misled reporters by speaking as if they were witnesses. Their spin can be seen in early press reports and in the dehumanizing article in the UUWorld Magazine.