26-year-old shot dead in church parking lot
A Westside church is trying to turn a negative into a positive after a man was found shot to death in its parking lot on Saturday. The pastor of Shindler Drive Baptist Church spoke about gun violence during Sunday morning's church service.
"Not even the church is immune to crime, even in their back yards," Pastor John Green said. "It's confirmation that now more than ever, the community needs their prayers."
"Members of the congregation here at Shindler Drive Baptist Church, are trying make sense of a shooting in their parking lot Saturday," Green said. "The people who worship here consider these grounds to be sacred."
The pastor went on to say good news can always be found, even in a tragic event.
"What this confirms it is the reason to be here," Green said. "It's why God has placed us here in this community, is to reach out and be a light here with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a community that is obviously hurting and in need."
Green says church members plan on reaching out to the community this week, and possibly to provide comfort and support to the victim's family.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Sunday identified the shooting victim as 26-year-old Kerry Lamb.
Church members say it's unfortunate they didn't have time to minister to Lamb or the person who killed him, but a murder on church grounds only makes them want to do more.
"Death is a consequence of sin," Pastor Green said. "We know the effects of sin around us. The good news is the Gospel that Jesus overcomes sin, and overcomes death through his resurrection."
Church members are planning a prayer vigil at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, hoping they can help put a stop to the violence that can happen anywhere.
"Now is the time," church member Jim Wells said. "We're seeing so much going on in our countries; school shootings that are going on around the world. Now is the opportunity to stand up."
Homicide detectives are searching for answers in Saturday's fatal shooting and are asking the community for help.
"We have several witnesses that saw individuals fleeing the scene," JSO Sgt. Jay Farhat said, "We do not know if they are suspects or possible friends of the victim. We are trying to determine that at this point in time."
Investigators said they believed Lamb was shot at or near the church lot where his body was found.
Officials said several people were taken downtown to be interviewed, but no arrests were make.
"I believe we have four, possibly five people we will be speaking to," said Farhat. "We do not know of their involvement."
Authorities said they currently have no eyewitnesses who actually saw the shooting.
"It is very early on in the investigation," said Farhat. "It looks like it may have possibly been drug related -- possibly a drug deal gone bad -- but we do not know for sure."
When asked if neighbors should be worried, Farhat said he doesn't think so.
"I do not believe this is a random act," said Farhat. "I'm sure the individuals knew each other."
Officers ask anyone with information about the shooting to call them at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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