Interim Chancellor Jan Simek sent out an e-mail to UT faculty, staff and students regarding the recent church shooting on July 28.
"The entire community has been shaken by the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and by the tragedy that has come to our community," he said.
Jim D. Adkisson opened fire with a shotgun Sunday morning at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. He killed two and injured seven. Adkisson, who is now in custody, targeted the church because he disagreed with their stance on gay rights, according to various news reports.
Victims were rushed to the UT Medical Center for treatments, according to local news reports. According to a KnoxNews article, many in the audience that morning were visitors watching their children in Annie, a Broadway musical adapted for children.
Area churches held various memorial, worship and prayer services to remember and honor the victims from Sunday morning's shooting.
"The shock will fade, but the grief and loss we all feel will continue," Simek wrote. He informed recipients that grief counselors would be available for anyone needing help in coping with the tragedy.
"This terrible, senseless act reminds us all of how fragile life can be and of how important it is for all of us to care for and support one another," Simek wrote.
Lance Lloyd, a junior majoring in music education and worship leader at First Baptist Church in Wartburg, said, "No one should have to attend a worship service and feel unsafe; it should be the exact opposite. The fact that this happened in a church is a tragic reminder that some people don't know how to handle differences of opinion and take things beyond the bounds of sanity.
"Although I may not share the same beliefs as the Unitarian doctrine, I can peacefully agree to disagree," Lloyd said. "What we all should agree on, however, is that situations like the one that's happened are not in any sense of reality an acceptable form of disagreement. My thoughts and prayers are with the congregation of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church."
Several flowers and notes have been left around the church sign, letting members and attendees know several across the country remember them in prayer.