FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A Fort Wayne pastor is taking a stand against the recent violence by fasting for 40 days. Starting Wednesday, Rev. Bill McGill will only drink water until May 19.
"Fast to defeat strife. It just became incumbent upon someone to call us back to the basics with some spiritual response to work with the political and social responses," McGill said.
Part of the fast is also 40 hours of focused community prayer. For one hour each of the 40 days, McGill's church, Imani Baptist Temple, will be open for anyone to come pray.
"Even if you're not physically prepared to go the 40 days on only water, all of us can take time every day to pray specifically and consistently that the God we serve, the God we know God to be, will intervene in our community," he said.
McGill will be under the supervision of a doctor during the fast and won't do anything that would cause body damage.
"If I'm physically not able to function, I will give myself permission to do a liquid supplement," he said.
McGill isn't the only one who's taking a stand.
"I admire him for doing that," Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York said. "This is the most involved the community has ever been in my 13 years as chief. The Urban League, NAACP, calls from the community and the faith-based community as well are looking for answers and they understand the police department can only do so much."
York is just back from a trip to Washington D.C. Wednesday. The executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum asked York to make the trip to visit with lawmakers and attend a speech by Vice President Joe Biden urging lawmakers to pass gun control reform.
"I was honored to participate in this. I think it's really important," York said.
York met with Sen. Dan Coats' chief of staff. The discussions mainly focused on universal background checks.
"Forty percent of guns purchased today are on the internet or at gun shows and they are not registered gun dealers. They don't do background checks. We need to close that loophole," York said. "It shouldn't be a problem. There are 58,000 gun dealers in the United States. Ninety percent of the population is within ten miles of a gun store."
York said if someone wanted to sell a weapon to another person, they would just have to go to a gun store to have a background check run.
"The proof that background checks do work is that since 1994 when they were instituted for gun dealers, more than two million sales have been blocked," York added.
He admits that tightening background checks won't make an immediate difference with 300 million guns on the streets.
"I think we have to look long term. I hope 20 years from now, our officers are operating in a safer environment than they are today because of the number of guns out there," York said. "What we're talking about in Fort Wayne, we wouldn't have this problem if there weren't so many guns. A lot of people don't want to hear that. It's the truth. It's not only creating a significant problem in our community, but it's a hazard for our officers who have to go out there every day."
So far in 2013, there have been eleven homicides in the city. All but one of those, York said, was gang-related. McGill hopes change can come through the power of prayer and his fast.
"It hasn't been tried yet, so can't call it a failure. I teach that this creates power in the spiritual realm and it either does or it doesn't, but I'm confident it does," he said.
People can contact McGill at (260) 410-3430 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who wants to join in the daily prayer hour can go to Imani Baptist Temple from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. for the next 40 days. The church is located at 2920 Indiana Avenue, which is the corner of Indiana and Cottage Avenues.
A man was injured after being trapped inside of a hole at a construction site for around 20 minutes on Monday afternoon. Police said he was up to his knees in dirt before crews were able to dig him out.
A Fort Wayne man was arrested after he apparently threw an alcoholic drink on his pregnant girlfriend and then hit her in the ear while her two small children were asleep in the home.
Police have charged six people and are still looking for one woman they believe is living in the Fort Wayne area. She faces meth dealing charges.
A Fort Wayne man is facing eight charges after he spit on a police officer who arrested him. He also spit on nurses and other officers while being treated at a local hospital.
Fort Wayne area firefighters, police officers, and EMT's are competing in the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive this holiday season.
Indiana residents receiving food stamps will begin receiving their monthly benefits on new dates under a state law approved earlier this year.
Police have identified a person of interest in Sunday’s stabbing outside of a home on Bluebird Court, off of St. Joe Road.
Police in Indianapolis say a seventh-grade boy has died after apparently collapsing and being found face down in the snow.
Police are looking for a white man who is 6'0" to 6'2" with a thin build they say robbed a CVS in November. He may have been driving a gray or dark green Ford SUV.
Police from several agencies have responded to multiple crashes overnight due to slick roads from a wintry mix that moved through the area late Sunday and early Monday morning.
A rural Angola man faces six felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman.
A local family wants help in making sure their loved one's murderer stays in prison.
Police said a man barricaded himself inside of a home on Genessee Avenue early Sunday morning for more than two hours after threatening to commit suicide.
Detectives believe a three-year-old boy may have shot himself at a home in Indianapolis Saturday night. Police said the shooting appears to have been accidental.
There will be several holiday-themed events this weekend in the Fort Wayne area, including Christmas displays, children’s parties, visits from Santa Claus, and more.