Interfaith prayer service calls for ‘peace in community’ following Stockley verdict protests

ST. LOUIS – Religious leaders from across St. Louis converged on Kiener Plaza Tuesday afternoon with the hope of uniting the community through the power of prayer.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led an interfaith prayer service calling for peace and solidarity. Carlson was joined by black church pastors, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders, and the Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis. Father Art Cavitt, pastor of St. Nicholas parish and executive director of the St. Charles Lwanga Center, served as emcee of the event.

Vigil participants walked from Kiener Plaza to the corner of Market and 7th streets and then marched to St. Louis City Hall.

The vigil came four days after a St. Louis Circuit Court judge issued a “not guilty” ruling on Friday, September 15 against former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley.

Stockley fatally shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011 after a three-mile police chase through city streets. The incident started as a police stop following a reported drug sale. Surveillance video showed officers attempt to block Smith in, who then backed his vehicle into a police car as the officers approached. Stockley ran after the suspect’s car, firing seven shots with his service pistol. The pursuit ended a short time later, with Stockley shooting Smith to death.