Bethel Baptist Church in Shelby was packed full Wednesday night as residents continue to mourn the death of an officer killed in the line of duty.
Shelby police officer Tim Brackeen was killed while serving a warrant over the weekend.
Two separate church congregations gathered for a special service Wednesday. Members of the Bethel Baptist Church welcomed friends from the Faith Baptist Church.
Dr. Barry Goodman, the pastor at Faith Baptist, said Tim Brackeen was a member of his church and Brackeen’s brother was a member of Bethel Baptist. The two groups decided to hold the memorial together.
“We just said ‘hey let’s get together and worship the lord together and give honor and glory to the lord that gave us somebody like Tim Brackeen’,” explained Goodman.
During the service, Goodman said Brackeen's death wasn't a tragedy. He said the officer's death was God calling Brackeen home.
“He was the real deal - real solid Christian young man,” said Goodman about Brackeen.
Friends and family were in attendance at Wednesday's memorial. It's clear that Brackeen will be dearly missed.
“I’m so sorry, but he’s in a good place. Tim is in a better place,” said churchgoer Kathryn Grayson.
Family members of the slain officer told WBTV on Wednesday that they forgive the man now charged in Brakeen’s death, Irving Fenner, who was captured Wednesday in Rhode Island. Brakeen’s brother is a pastor and his parents are missionaries.
“With the young man that shot Timothy, I would hope that everyone would forgive this young man and that there would be no hatred among anyone for this. There’s a scripture in the bible where Jesus asks the Lord - ‘forgive them for they know not what they do.’ Sometimes circumstances drive men to do things in split second that they regret later,” said family member Jim Brackeen.
“There’s no hatred with us a family, and have the opportunity maybe to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to him that he would not spend eternity in the sinner’s hell but have the opportunity to be saved.”
Reverend Stephen Brackeen, another family member, said it has been difficult at times dealing with his older brother's death.
But he said he too forgives the accused killer. “The spirit of God has fallen in a powerful way in my life. I spent time with Timothy and I watched and felt forgiveness, kindness, mercy and the love of Christ in the most real way that I ever experienced in my entire life,” he said.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, September 17, 2016 at 3 p.m. at Keeter Stadium, 230 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152 with Rev. Stephen Brackeen officiating. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials can be made; Shelby Police Department K-9 Unit, PO Box 207, Shelby NC 28151.
A GoFundMe page was also set up for Brackeen. The page states “the funds raised will go to help Tim, Tim's wife, and daughter during their time of crisis.”