SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The victims in the Sri Lanka bombings weighed heavily on the hearts of worshipers at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on Easter Sunday. As of Sunday evening, 290 were reported dead with more than 450 wounded.
There were nine explosions in total; three ripped through Catholic churches as worshipers celebrated morning mass. The attackers also hit three luxury hotels.
Sri Lankan officials say the coordinated attacks were carried out by a single group that has not been identified. More than a dozen suspects are being held in connection with the suicide bombings. Authorities have blocked social media sites nationwide following the blasts.
“To go somewhere expecting brotherhood and togetherness, and then just to be destroyed like that, yeah it was horror,” said San Francisco resident Lauren Frazier.
Sunday’s service at Grace Cathedral began with a moment of silence.
“I think we come together with hope and trust in God, knowing that even though we continue to crucify one another over 2,000 years, still Christ rises from the dead and brings us new life,” said Ellen Clark-King, the Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice at the cathedral.
Sri Lanka is still recovering from a long and bloody civil war.
“During the 30 years of civil war, we had lots of explosions in Colombo. We are used to airport getting blown up and the central bank, things like that,” said Colombo resident Mangala Karunaratne. “But it’s been 10 years of peace and we got used to that. So that’s why it’s really surprising and shocking.”
Officials say a few dozen foreigners, including several Americans, are among the dead.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan officials say religious extremists were behind them.
Police departments across the Bay Area, including San Jose Police Department, also said they were stepping up security at places of worship following the bombings.