DOUGLAS – For many in the village of Douglas, which drew settlers with its untapped prairie and became one of the earliest meeting sites for the Methodist Church in the Nebraska Territory, news of a double homicide within the tiny town’s borders came with sadness and surprise.
Pastor Karen Lamb rose to the podium at Sunday’s service saying an act of senseless violence had visited the town of 150 people.
The United Methodist Church congregation had few details, but they knew Randal and Annette Grimes. Some remembered teaching their children in Sunday school and others said they were encouraged with visits with Annette at her home.
The Grimes raised their children in Douglas and members of the church congregation shared memories with each other and compassion for their family.
Pastor Lamb said there can be a tendency in communities of any size to wonder if people somehow bring misfortune upon themselves.
Lamb: “You know we all make bad choices, but something like this … there’s no blame on the victims. This was a violent act perpetrated by someone who definitely needs our prayers as well.”
Otoe County sheriff deputies were called to the Grimes’ house before dawn on Saturday. A Nebraska State Patrol press release says the couple died of apparent gunshot wounds.
The congregation had lost contact with the Grimes family in recent years. Pastor Lamb said church attendance is declining in small towns across America, but the church’s message is as important as ever.
Lamb: “I think it’s especially relevant in this situation because, when people don’t have faith or they don’t have a relationship and things like this happen, they don’t have hope. They have nowhere to turn.
We have each other. We have the community. We have a message that this isn’t it, that this senseless violence happened, but we have to go on and we can go on because we believe.”
The state patrol identified 36-year-old for Brindar Jangir as a person of interest on Saturday. A press release says he is believed to be armed and dangerous.
He may be driving a red, Red Honda Accord 4 door with license # GHW-345.