Video showing woman praying over crime victim sparks outrage

Video showing woman praying over crime victim sparks outrage
Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2017-08-23 19:13:38-04

An unknown onlooker captured video of a man bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds on a Baltimore street. In the video, a woman can be heard praying over the young man as he pleads for help in a pool of his own blood.

The video has been shared on Facebook more than 52,000 times to date with nearly 6 million views. The footage has sparked outrage online over the proper response during an emergency.

Some commenters contended it's unethical to pull out a cellphone and record a man who’s just been shot. Others expressed criticism of the woman heard in the video for praying over the man instead of trying to help stop the bleeding.

It's yet another incident in Baltimore involving viral content with prayer at its core. This week, a photograph of a Baltimore teen praying over a homeless man was shared more than 35,000 times, igniting both praise and criticism. While some people celebrated the young man as a leader, others called his act of prayer a cheap form of support.

Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore says that prayer is often all a person may have to give.

“For many people, prayer and meditation and other spiritual practices is a part of their everyday living,” Brown said. “So that means, even in the midst of emergencies or trauma or the surprises of life, you’re going to find prayer and meditation. You’re going to find people calling on God in those moments. For many people it’s a part of their identity.”

The man at the center of the gruesome viral video was shot multiple times in the 2300 block of Tioga Parkway near Mondawmin Mall on Sunday, March 6.

RELATED: Man shot near Mondawmin Mall

Police say they responded to a shooting report around 1:40 p.m. and arrived to find a 22-year-old man shot in the torso. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. 

While some Facebook users expressed outrage, suggesting the woman heard praying should have sprung into action to help save the man’s life, emergency responders say that's not necessarily the right approach.

Sam Johnson of the Baltimore City Fire Department advises against bystanders giving first aid. He says that if someone witnesses a victim suffering from a gunshot wound, the best action is to find a safe location and call 911.

“In the event where there has been some type of blunt force trauma due, in part, by another individual, putting yourself in the line of fire may get you hurt as well,” Johnson said.

The assailant could still be lingering in the area, and anyone coming to the aid of a victim could in turn put their lives in danger, according to Johnson. He says it’s best to call 911 and let emergency personnel do their job.

“Anything could happen,” he said.

Please be advised, video of this incident is graphic.

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