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Prenzler, pastor back arming security for MetroLink after fatal shooting

Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler read a pastor’s letter to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Board on Wednesday in support of armed security following the shooting death of an unarmed Metrolink guard.

Prenzler said he received the letter Tuesday night from the Rev. John Blackmore, senior pastor of Sullivan Christian Church in Sullivan, Mo. Blackmore was the pastor of James Cook, the MetroLink security guard killed on Jan. 31.

Prior to becoming senior pastor at the Sullivan church, he served as senior pastor of First Christian Church of Bethalto (2005 to 2013), on the pastoral staff of Cornerstone Christian Church in Shiloh and attended St. Louis Christian College in Florissant.

“James was my good friend and a member of our church,” Blackmore wrote. “James and Kim, along with their two daughters Zoey and Lydia, actually lived with us for a short time when they moved to Sullivan three years ago.”

Blackmore said Cook was an “awesome husband and amazing dad who loved the Lord, his family and his country.” Cook was a U.S. Marine veteran set to receive his degree in pre-law from Liberty University in August.

“His desire was to go to law school and help veterans receive all their benefits,” Blackmore said.

Blackmore said the reason for writing is he knows these are challenging times and no matter what political party or ideology elected leaders have a great responsibility.

“During this time many people have asked me about forgiveness, revenge, punishment and justice.  As I prepared, prayed and planned James’ funeral one scripture keep returning to my mind — ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,’” he said. “The Bible clearly teaches that individual Christians should not seek revenge or hold on to unforgiveness.”

Blackmore said the Bible also teaches the role of government is to reward the good and punish evil.

“As we allow the city to decay and become lawless and filled with crime the whole region suffers,” he said. “I fully support arming security guards, not only will it save their lives, but the lives of 90 percent of peaceful passengers dependent on public transport for their livelihood.”

Prenzler said that Blackmore’s statements were in line with the Madison County Board, which on Feb. 17 passed a resolution criticizing Bi-State Development, which manages MetroLink.

“Our county board believes the decision to disarm security guards makes the system less safe, both for MetroLink passengers and employees,” Prenzler said.

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