• Sanford residents gather for prayer service following Zimmerman acquittal

    Updated:

    SANFORD, Fla. - A nearly two-hour prayer service in Sanford was held Monday after George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's shooting.

    Dozens of people showed up for the prayer service outside the new Life Word Center in Sanford, where church and city leaders were urging people to come together following Saturday's verdict.

    At one point during the service, there were people standing in the back hallway because the pews were so full of people celebrating a new chapter for the city of Sanford.

    The service was put on by the Sanford Pastors Connecting Group, which has been working together since Zimmerman's arrest to prepare people for the trial and verdict.

    The message on Monday was even if you don't agree with the verdict, it's time to move forward in the city of Sanford.

    "This is your home," said Police Chief Cecil Smith. "No one is going to take care of your home, your community, better than you will, and that has benefited everything thus far."

    Other speakers included Mayor Jeff Triplett, who spoke with Channel 9 about the city's plans for moving on.

    "We've reached out and people have come out to us and said, 'This is what we'd like to see the community be better,'" said Triplett.

    "In any city government, you can only go so far unless you have the support. That's huge in order for us to do the things we need to do," he said.

    Both Triplett and Smith said Monday's turnout shows the community is ready to join the effort peacefully.

    In the meantime, vigils in 100 cities nationwide are being planned for Saturday over the verdict.

    Thousands of demonstrators from across the country -- chanting, praying and fighting tears -- protested the jury's decision to clear Zimmerman, and organizers said they'll try to maintain the momentum with vigils next weekend.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton said his organization will hold prayer vigils and rallies in front of federal buildings.

    Sharpton joins the NAACP and others calling for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in Martin's 2012 shooting death in Sanford.

    Largely peaceful rallies were held Sunday in cities across the country. There were some arrests in Los Angeles, where more than 100 police officers in riot gear converged on a crowd of about 80 protesters.

    Sharpton has urged peace, saying any violence would mar Martin's name.


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