CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 49 people were killed when a man described by authorities as an immigrant hater and white supremacist went on a shooting rampage at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Authorities are still investigating, but meanwhile, the Muslim community around the world and in Corpus Christi are sharing words of unity and prayer.
Friday's 1 p.m. service at the Islamic Center on McArdle Road included prayers for all 49 victims of the terrorist attack.
Many said they are shocked that something like that could happen in a country where it has been unheard of.
The head of the local Muslim community, Alam Khan, said the incident is one that shows hatred can be anywhere in the world. Khan said the attack, while tragic, will be a unifier for those who seek peace.
One of the faithful in attendance at Friday's service said she was on her way back from San Antonio Thursday night when she noticed social media blowing up with news of the tragedy.
"It was shocking, the way that it happened. It was Facebook Live. For 17 minutes. No one stopped him," Habiba Fayed said. "People in his comments were saying, 'God bless, good job, good job,' for what? For killing innocent people? It was Friday prayer, our holy day."
Erin Eggleston delivered flowers to the Islamic Center in Corpus Christi in remembrance of those who lost their lives.
"I was just, was acknowledging something wrong that happened in our community, and I think that other people should be acknowledging what happened here," Eggleston said. "We should be united today and every day. These things have been happening all over the world, all over our country, and I think that we should just take a moment."
"It's very heartbreaking, you know?" Fayed said. "Like all people were doing is praying."
The Corpus Christi Police Department had a patrol car stationed in the parking lot of the Islamic Center on Friday. Officers said it was not in response to any threats, but out of an abundance of caution.