Prayer service held after murder-suicide in Guilderland

May 22, 2019 12:22 AM

GUILDERLAND – The Guilderland community came together Tuesday night for a prayer service. It comes after police said Caitlin Melville, 27, shot and killed her 5-year-old daughter and then herself at their home on Schoolhouse Road.

The prayer service was held at Redeemer Church, which is just a few feet away from the home where the tragedy occurred. While no one at the church personally knew the mother and daughter, they said it was important to come together.


"There's a lot of people that are looking for answers that are probably overwhelmed with questions and not sure what to do or how to respond," said Pastor Scott Packard. "We thought this was a good way for us to just say hey, we're here and we'll provide some kind of comfort if we can."

The service included prayers for the family of the mother and daughter and teachers and students at the Guilderland School District, where the young girl went to school. They also prayed for first responders and the community as a whole. The service then ended with several songs.

Pastor Packard said he had reached out to the sisters of Melville to let them know they were holding the service. He said they asked for one thing.  

"They'd like prayer for peace and for healing in their family," said Packard.

With many parents in attendance Tuesday night, it was also a chance for them to speak about how best to talk to their children about such a difficult topic.

"Whether it be social media or they go through school and look around like everyone else is doing okay and what's wrong with me and by talking about it you start to normalize the reality that we all have bad days and that there are times we feel really alone," said parent Ben Elmore. "We start to talk about the importance for them to own the feelings they have and have the courage to share them."

Many also spreading a message to be kind to others and saying everyone is going through their own struggles that we know nothing about.

"Even if you’re at the grocery store and you're looking at that clerk helping check you out maybe she's having a bad day, maybe you just say a kind word or ask hey how are you doing or just giving that smile," said Mary Elmore of Guilderland. "That's so encouraging."

Guilderland police said the murder-suicide is still under investigation. They said they are unable to provide details of a motive at this time.


Emily De Vito

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