Three members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Joplin were injured during this morning's shooting. At last report, one of them---a man---is in critical condition after doctors were preparing his wife for the chance he wouldn't survive.
Immanuel Lutheran Church Comfort Dog Jackson still has a smile on his face, even though he has a fresh wound on his ear from a bullet. He seems to know his caring, compassionate nature will be especially needed over the next few days.
"We were supposed to be going to St. Louis for a conference with a bunch of other comfort dogs from around the region," says Vicki Eby, a church member.
Eby was in a van, her husband Ken was driving, and two others were in the back seat. They were at the intersection of 32nd and Connecticut. Jackson, and his fellow comfort dog Louie, were also in the van.
"We heard three pops go off," says Eby.
It was shortly after five in the morning.
"It was so dark, we didn't know what was happening," says Eby.
Eby heard a sound from her husband.
"He just went, 'Oh,' just a normal reaction to being hit in the side with a hard object," says Eby.
One of the bullets fired hit Eby's husband's lung.
"If they hadn't of gotten him to the hospital when they did, he wouldn't be here. They said that his chances were very, very slim. I was in shock. I just asked if they were going to fix him," says Eby.
Eby's husband is in critical condition, and doctors are still monitoring for possible bleeding.
"I guess I was in a daze. I probably still am," says Eby.
One passenger in the van received a serious, but non-life threatening injury to her arm, and the other passenger was injured on the head from glass shrapnel. A bullet grazed Jackson's ear, and Louie has gotten out of surgery to remove a bullet from his neck.
"The dogs have also been a comfort, just like they're trained to do," says Jeremy Schamber, church member.
This comfort team that has helped thousands of others across the nation during their times of weakness and need, knows that healing will take time.
"This will be a long road," says Eby.
But they have each other, two-legs and four-legs alike.
A group of national comfort dogs is traveling to Joplin to be with Immanuel Lutheran Church members.
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