Phoenix-area churches step up security following Texas mass shooting

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Pastor Marion Ingegneri reads scripture every week at the Grace North Church in Anthem.

But Sunday's mass shooting at a church in Texas has this pastor focused on safety and security.

"You're thinking, this could be us," said Ingegneri. "This is the United States of America, and yet somebody walks into our public buildings and houses of worship and brutally murders people."

[RELATED: 26 killed in Texas church shooting, including 8 members of one family]

Ingegneri considers the latest mass shooting a sad wake up call to churches and religious institutions to take a closer look at how they're protecting parishioners.

"It brings a little fear to every family," said church member Bernice Jones. "Not only because of our lives, but the lives of our children. It's scary."

Grace North Church has just posted an active shooter awareness video on its web page.

It's also looking to re-assess every door entrance around the church to limit unauthorized access.

Plans are also in the works to bring in security personnel during worship services.

"We've had security teams in the past, but we haven't been pro-active in keeping these teams active," said Ingegneri. "We will be changing the way that we approach this now, making sure we've done everything we can. As of yesterday, I spoke to one of our primary leaders, who is a retired police officer and I have begun the process. We are going to rebuild a team because we want to do what we can do."

Other churches are also looking at ways to step up security.

"Whether my church is small, medium or a mega church, it doesn't matter," said Ingegneri. "We need to know what to do and be prepared."

Religious leaders are also hoping to better inform their congregants about what to do in a crisis situation. The idea is that the more they know, the safer they'd be.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

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Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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