Christian Chronicle

Tulsa officer charged in shooting still welcome at church


By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

GLENPOOL, Okla. — After a week in the national headlines, Betty Shelby received hugs and well-wishes from her church family Sunday.

Shelby, the Tulsa police officer charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed black suspect, offered to stay home from worship to avoid causing a commotion.

But leaders of the Glenpool Church of Christ — a 200-member congregation in this fast-growing community of 13,000, south of Tulsa — made it clear she was welcome to attend.

“She got a lot of hugs and a lot of words of personal support,” pulpit minister Benjamin Williams said. “Nobody here claims to be a law enforcement expert and to know how that part of it might play out. But we support her as a person.”

Shelby, 42, turned herself into the Tulsa County jail on Friday and was released after posting $50,000 bond. A conviction would carry a penalty of four years to life in prison.

In the opening prayer Sunday, elder Bill Path mentioned the turmoil in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second-largest city, and asked God to intervene and maintain peace.

“We want to again pray for the comfort of the Crutcher family during this loss,” Path said, referring to Terence Crutcher, the 40-year-old man who died, “but also pray for the strength of the Shelby family.”

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This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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