SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A deacon of The Dwelling Place Church was shot and killed in his front yard Monday morning, according to friends and family.
Church members identified the victim as Andre' Jones. Jones' friends and family arrived by the dozens to pray and mourn their loss.
"It's hard for me to believe that somebody would shoot him in his back," church member Pamela Glass said. "To me, that was cowardice."
Glass said when she got the call telling her that her church deacon had been shot and killed in a Northwood community, her heart dropped.
"It's very hard because he's like a brother to me," Glass said. "He does not cause any trouble with anybody. He's not a confrontational person."
Shelby County Sheriff's Office said the shooting happened in the Northwood Hills Area.
According to Shelby County Deputies, Deacon Andre Jones was at his fiance's home around 5 a.m. Monday when he heard a noise that started everything.
"They were upstairs and he heard something downstairs," Glass said. "He was getting ready to go to work and he was ambushed at the back door."
Jones struggled with the two suspects and then was shot. Deputies said the motive behind the shooting is still unclear and they're investigating if this was a random act of violence or something more.
SCSO spokesperson Earle Farrell initially said a homeowner shot and killed a robbery suspect. He then received more information and clarified that SCSO is still gathering details and treating the shooting as a murder investigation.
Deputies said the two people responsible for the shooting remain at large.
As for Jones' church, the said they remain in deep prayer.
"We're all family at church. He's a good person, he does not bother anybody," Glass said. "It shouldn't have happened."
Church member Antavius Reid agrees and said Jones preached about non violence to Memphis youth.
"He saved young kids' lives and looked after the whole church," Reid said. "Keep up out of the streets."
So, to hear the violent streets taking Jones' life, it's upsetting for his church members.
"I would just tell them it was wrong for what they did and it was pointless."