Two long-time members of Grace Polaris, a Grace Brethren congregation on the north side of Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), were eyewitnesses to the beginning of Friday’s tragic events at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. Hobe and Judy Raikes are visible in a security video which was released on Sunday. (Click here to view the video.)
In the video, the alleged shooter walks past them, pulls a weapon from his waistband and begins firing. The Raikes are among those who take cover in the background. She is wearing a white sweater; he is wearing a dark sweater.
Esteban Santiago has been charged following a shooting rampage in the baggage claim area. Five people were killed and at least six were injured.
Their daughter, Anne Ritchey, confirmed the couple was in the airport on Friday. “We thank God for His protection on them during the tragic event,” she said.
She added that they would want people to pray first for those families who are grieving due to a death or injury. “For my parents — they would want to first give praise for His protection on their lives and then prayers that the images and memories would not consume their thoughts about what might have been.”
Mike Yoder, pastor at Grace Polaris, added, “Hobe and Judy Raikes are an active and valued part of our congregation. We’re glad for God’s protection of them in this situation.”
A team from New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church, Myerstown, Pa. (Keith Shearer, pastor), was also in the airport at the time of the incident. They were on their way to Haiti to minister with Breathe Partners, a cooperating ministry in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. (See Breathe Partners Team Safe After Ft. Lauderdale Incident.)