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

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jan 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-20 22:01:12-05

Newport News, Va. - 71-year-old Joseph Williams, Jr. was a deacon at Triumph Christian Center.

Dr. Reginald Dawkins is mourning the loss of his good friend.

“Shocked. Unbelief still surprises me even until today. I've been his pastor for eight years. I've eaten at his house, traveled with him to visit the sick going back and forth to hospitals,” says Dawkins.

A picture of them is something Dawkins holds close to his heart.

“I was embracing him and you'll see that smile on his face, so I will always remember that.

Williams left church Sunday afternoon and he was shot in the head near 33rd Street and Marshall Avenue.

Police say two men were shooting at each other and Williams was caught in the crossfire.

“If I could use this word, he died on the battlefield trying to do the work of his Lord. Sad on one side, but joyous on the other side because I know where he's at,” says Dawkins.

Williams spent a lot of his time visiting the sick and mentoring kids at local schools.

He was also a loving husband and father.

That's why tonight, Triumph Christian Center will hold a prayer vigil to remember Williams and continue his work.

“He like many other persons, see the need of reaching the young people to make a difference,” says Dawkins about the deacon.


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