Church mourns loss of young choir member

Jerry Brown killed in drive-by shooting Thursday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Greater Beulah Missionary Baptist held its first service Sunday since one of its chorus members was shot and killed.

Jerry Brown, 22, was killed Thursday while sitting in a car outside a family member's home in Grand Park. Investigators said someone drove by, shot Brown and drove away.

"He loved everybody," said Pastor Anthony Wells. "Always very warm, very loving."

Members of the church said Brown had the voice of an angel. They said church service didn't sound the same without him.

"Weird but also devastating," one member said. "Jerry is really the son of the church. He was born in the church and we met him as a little fellow and the news just blew us away when we received it."

Police were called to 3500 Henrietta Street shortly after midnight Thursday. Brown was found outside his aunt's home. Now the church is trying to cope with the loss.

"There were a lot of tears and hugging and grief counseling that will be done for the congregation, and come to grips with what's happened," one member said. "And then we will move on through the process."

Brown's family and friends said he sang in the church choir, was a good man who mentored other young men and was a barista at a local coffee shop.

"Jerry would probably tell us, 'Don't cry,' because he did a lot of what he wanted even in 22 years that he wanted to do," a family member said.

Greater Beulah Missionary Baptist Church is in the planning stages of an actual memorial service for Brown. His 23rd birthday would have been on Feb. 16. Instead of celebrating his birthday, the family will be having a fundraiser at 3 Layers Café to raise reward money for information leading to an arrest in his death.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has not released any suspect information in connection with Brown's death. Anyone with information is asked to call the police. Crime Stoppers is offering an award of up to $3,000 for information.

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