Moore Pastors Compton
Rev. Joe Reginald Moore, 65, of Upper Room Christian Church in Compton, California was shot six times on Oct. 24, 2021 outside the church. Now a coalition of pastors are calling for action to stem the tide of violence. (Video screengrab via NBC LA)

‘We Will Not Rest’: Compton Pastors Confront Violence That Took One of Their Own

By Sarah Einselen

After one of their own was shot dead, a coalition of pastors is calling for action to stem the tide of violence in their town of Compton near Los Angeles, California.

“We will not hide, run, nor tremble in fear while allowing evil to run rampant in our Compton streets,” pastor Michael J. Fisher said in a press release. “We will not rest nor stop until (the assailants) are found.”

Fisher, the senior pastor at Greater Zion Church Family and president of Pastors for Compton, and other ministers spoke out about the shooting and similar violence during a press conference last week.

Rev. Joe Reginald Moore, 65, of Upper Room Christian Church was shot six times Oct. 24 while walking to his car after leading a Bible study, NBC Los Angeles reported. He died at the scene, his cane lying beside him. Police told the TV station he wasn’t robbed and a family member said she believes the shooting was gang-related.

The town of Compton is notorious for gang violence, and while gang-related crimes dropped substantially in the 2010s, residents are lamenting an increase in violent crime in 2020 and 2021.

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It’s not the first time Fisher and his fellow ministers have made public pleas to end the cycle of violence. This time, though, was different

“The act was evil. The act was evil,” the NBC affiliate quoted Fisher as saying at the press conference.

The pastors called for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and area residents to find whoever shot Moore and work together to stop the violence. As many as 10 sheriff’s investigators are working on the case, NBC Los Angeles reported, but no arrests have been made.

“We’re not going to hide,” ABC7 quoted Fisher as saying. “We’re not going to live in fear and we as ministers, we’re not going to sit back and allow others to take care of our community.”

Fisher also called on the Black Lives Matter organization to contribute “their resources and their ability to galvanize protests in the community the way they do when they come against law enforcement,” LA Focus reported. A city council member and the mayor spoke at the press conference, too.

Moore’s widow, Sharon Moore, asked the shooter to turn himself in to authorities. His daughter spoke of her father’s influence.

“My father was a good man,” Daney Raqueal Moore said at the press conference. “And his teaching and preaching will not go in vain. I’ll continue to live through his legacy by ensuring that there will be peace, there will be love, there will be joy.”

Daney Moore previously told podcast host Billy Hallowell that her father would be among the first to forgive his killer.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.

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5 thoughts on “‘We Will Not Rest’: Compton Pastors Confront Violence That Took One of Their Own”

  1. The LA Post reports Fisher as “calling out” rather than calling for. So unfortunate tone there, given the generally poor relation between BLM and many Christian apologists.
    What the tragedy of violence calls for, is engagement and discussion between Christian and BLM elements; and that preceding any cooperation as equals in the struggle against violence.
    The gang violence in Compton, will have a basis that extends far outside both Christian and BLM projects. Such that Christian and BLM and many other entities will have to come together, before change becomes much possible.
    As things stand, the connecting of the killing with gangs, remains speculative, so possibly misleading (until and unless confirmed).

    1. As someone who’s lived most of his life in Greater Los Angeles, Compton has a reputation for a LOT of street-gang violence. Compton itself is mostly black, mostly older industrial and warehouses with the rest being slums. a really Bad Part of Town. There’s a joke that the Century Freeway (which runs E-W through the area) is dug in below ground level through that part of its run to protect the cars from stray bullets. THAT’s how rough a reputation it has.

      Incidentally, LA changes the name of its slums after every riot. First Watts until the Watts Riots, then South Central until the Rodney King riots, now South Los Angeles. But the area is constant; along and west of the Harbor (110) Freeway, east of the 405, south to the 405 (which swings around from west to south). Compton is near the 405, next to a belt of heavy industry (including the oil refinery at Carson) blending into the seaport of San Pedro and Long Beach.

    2. My take on BLM is that it’s primarily focused on civil rights and more specifically, police harassment. The title might infer it’s largely concerned about saving black lives, but I think that’s misleading. But if they were to take on gang violence, I think they probably would get broader support from both sides.

  2. I really don’t believe BLM would partner with any organization, let alone Christians, to accomplish anything resembling a peaceful solution to violence in our society. In my estimation, they are more bent on anarchy for the sake of anarchy than anything else. However, do black lives matter? Of course they do. But the more correct statement is ALM (All Lives Matter).

    1. Sam, the point is all lives can’t matter until Black lives do too. Our society is full of attitudes that downplay, excuse, laugh at, or ignore the challenges facing many Black people – and there is data to back it up. One simple example: the news coverage of a Black child who goes missing is SUBSTANTIALLY less than if it is a white child (I believe the last data I saw was up to 40% less coverage). How does that show “all” lives matter?
      By the way, BLM partnered with a church that is up the street from me to start a winter food drive to address rising food prices AND the food deserts across many Black neighborhoods on the south and west sides of my city. BLM also participated in a march – along with leaders of several Black churches – to address violence in the near south side areas.
      Don’t let your bias overlook those types of efforts.

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