The family and friends of a beloved 79-year-old deacon and grandfather, who was looking forward to turning 80 in a few weeks, were left in the throes of grief Tuesday after he was shot multiple times inside his car and left to bleed in broad daylight near his daughter's house.
Local investigators in Virginia told WVEC that deacon Clinton Jackson Sr. was shot near 33rd Street and Madison Avenue in Newport News and was pronounced dead at hospital shortly after. They believe he might have known his killer.
People who knew the beloved deacon, however, cannot understand why anyone would want to kill him. And according to his pastor, Jackson was looking forward to more life, not death.
"He testified that he was going to turn 80 in a few weeks," Rev. Solomon Wooden Jr., pastor of the Goodwill Baptist Church in Hampton where the deceased deacon was a member, told the Daily Press.
Jackson's daughter, Patricia Liggins, told WTKR that her father was shot shortly after visiting her house Tuesday and remembered him as a man who cared about people.
"So many people don't value life, but he knew his family loved him. He loved his church family, his church family loved him," she said holding back tears.
"When he left, I told him that I loved him and I would see him when he get back. And we laughed, we hugged and I gave him a kiss," she continued.
Despite her grief, Liggins says she is confident God will reveal her father's killer.
"I know God will reveal 'cause when I first talked to the Lord … I know He will reveal who did this. I put it in his hands," she said.
Parishioners at Jackson's Hampton church also gathered Wednesday to weep, pray and console each other.
"Father God, he was a warrior for you. He was a magnificent man and he stood. He didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk," prayed Rudolph Jones, a fellow deacon at the church between sobs.
As a mark of respect, church members draped a black cloth over the pew where Jackson sat during service before they started their Bible study.
Pastor Wooden told WVEC that Jackson, a former truck driver, was the one got the steeple for the church's original building across the street from their current sanctuary. And he did it with his retirement money.
"That steeple been up there some 25 years, and because of Deacon Clinton Stonewall Jackson, it's a monument to him," said Wooden.