Gov. Matt Blunt held a short press conference at the Newton County Sheriff's office in Neosho, MO on August 13, 2007, to express his condolences to the families of the victims of the First Congregational Church shooting. He also commended local law enforcement for their response.
“Yesterday, a terrible crime harmed the people of this community, our state, and our shared American values by attacking Missourians in a peaceful place of faith and worship,” Blunt said. “My thoughts and prayers are with all who mourn the loss of the victims and the citizens of Neosho as they begin the healing process following yesterday’s tragic events. I commend the Neosho Police Department, the Newton County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. We are all very proud of your professional, rapid and courageous response.”
Accompanying him, L-R, were Mark James, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, who credited active shooter training for leading to the officers' courageous, professional and rapid response that saved lives; Col. James F. Keathley, director of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who said that his agency would provide resources for any further investigation and give analysis of evidence priority; Sheriff Ken Copeland who commended the off duty officers for showing up at the scene; and Mayor Howard Birdsong who thanked the community for their support--citing the doctors and nurses who helped EMS. He also said that he looked forward to a brighter future.