Church remembers slain deacon hit by stray bullet in Newport News

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jan 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-20 23:36:02-05

Newport News, Va. - A choir filled everyone's ears with joy as the celebration of Deacon Joe Williams focused not on how he died, but the way he spent his 71 years.

"It shows me how loved Joe was," said Bill Mebane, his friend of more than 50 years .

Williams was driving home from church Sunday afternoon. On 33rd Street, police found the deacon dead from a stray bullet.

"He's coming from church, still in his suit and gets hit in the head from a stray bullet," Mebane said. "It's, it's demoralizing."

Monday the people he prayed with got out of the pews they had shared with him the day before and let light try its best to overcome the dark.

The stray bullet that killed Williams, like much of the violence that plagues the East End, was senseless.

They can't get the deacon back.

They prayed that something like this to never happen again so no one else has to feel their pain.


Devastated family, friends hold candlelight vigil for deacon shot, killed by stray bullet

71-year-old man shot to death in Newport News