A 21-year-old Salvation Army worker in Cleveland, Ohio, was shot dead in the head Saturday morning with his Bible in hand, while preaching the Gospel.
Those who knew Jared Plesec say that he was devoted to his faith, and lived to teach others about God.
“Jared was an employee (youth worker) and church member of The Salvation Army Temple Corps Community Center in Collinwood. Jared died as he lived, sharing God’s love. Jared passed away in full Salvation Army uniform with his Bible in hand leaving home on his day off to volunteer at The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle,” The Salvation Army said in a statement, as reported by WKYC.com.
“In the past two days, hundreds of individuals, mostly youth, have flocked to The Salvation Army in Collinwood to pay tribute to Jared’s life. They all had one thing in common, Jared loved them, he cared for them and he changed their lives.
“Today our we feel great loss that Jared was taken from us too soon. Yet we rejoice that he is in heaven with the loving Heavenly Father he told so many people about.”
Police have arrested 27-year-old William Jones in connection with the murder. Jones reportedly went on a carjacking crime spree after killing Plesec, before being captured in Lakewood.
The suspect has been charged with aggravated murder, grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding.
Witnesses said that Jones killed Plesec as he was sharing the Bible with him, Fox 8 News reported.
Plesec, who was also a Bible study teacher, was described as smart, sweet, and full of faith, with mourners stating that he would forgive his killer.
Major Daniel Alverio of the Salvation Army told Fox 8 News that the 21-year-old lived to “teach people who God was.”
“To love and care for people,” Alverio said.
“I would talk to Jared often and he would say that he was not afraid. I would say ‘Jared, be careful in the streets.’ He said, ‘I’m not afraid. I know where I’m going’ and for him he would tell you to die is gain. Like he had no problem with the idea of being persecuted for the Gospel. He knew what he believed and he was assured that if anything ever happened to him he was going to be alright,” he added.
Amante Crawley shared that Plesec brought people to church.
“He showed me the light and everything that the Lord could do to me, how he could work through me. Anybody who did him wrong he just loved. He loved everyone. That’s why I can’t understand why someone would do this to him. He was a loving person,” Crawley stated.
The Salvation Army held a service for Plesec on Sunday, which was attended by members of his family.
“Jared, he was the real deal. He loved the Lord with all his heart. All he wanted was to bring people to him. He wanted to do it in whatever way he could,” shared Diane Schaffer, one of his cousins.
“He would go into any neighborhood. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He wanted people to know what they were supposed to be doing and how to live their lives. He was a wonderful, wonderful person.”