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Prayers for the police
Community comes together to support law enforcement
A-Law Enforcement Prayer pic1
Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle told a crowd gathered Sunday outside the sheriffs office that the unrest across the nation and the disdain for law enforcement officers is a spiritual war. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

Hundreds from across the community were in downtown Dawsonville Sunday afternoon to show their support for law enforcement.

"My father is a police officer in the city of Milton. He's been a police officer for 40 years. We thought it would be a good show of solidary for the police officers if we were here," said Rebecca Bliss, who along with her husband and three children wore matching "We support Law Enforcement" shirts.

Deputy Johnny Holtzclaw organized Sunday's prayer service in front of the Dawson County Law Enforcement Center as a tribute to the police officers gunned down in Dallas, Texas Thursday night.

"I'm overwhelmed by the support we have from the community," he said Sunday afternoon. "It was just 48 hours ago that we were putting the announcement out there, and we had hundreds come out for the prayer service."

The suspect in Thursday's shooting, identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite, Texas, was killed in a lengthy standoff with law enforcement, according to Dallas authorities.

The U.S. Army reservist reportedly told negotiators he was angry over the recent police shootings of two black men and he wanted to kill white officers.

"The thing that happened out in Texas the other day is absolutely senseless," said Deputy Eric Johnson, who led the service. "Those officers were standing there watching people gather together just like we are and they got shot by a sniper. They will never go home to their wife, their children, their mom, dad, brother and sister.

"We need to pray for them. We need to pray for that agency, too."

Sheriff Billy Carlisle called the unrest across the nation and the disdain for law enforcement officers a spiritual war.

"It's a war that we can't win on our own without the Lord's help," he said. "Now we've had protests, people marching and wanting their voices to be heard.

"Well, we want our voices to be heard, too. But the one we want to hear our voices is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is the only one who can do anything about what's going on in the United States."

Protests continue across the United States, including in the Atlanta area where thousands of demonstrators have been marching for the last five nights in opposition to police shootings around the country.

"We're under a physical attack and that's with our own people. Our community shouldn't be divided. We need to be here for each other," Johnson said. "I've worked here for almost 14 years. I'm proud to be a sheriff's deputy here, and hey, we've got a great sheriff's office."