A popular 33-year-old Georgia pastor is now dead and his 48-year-old girlfriend charged with murder after she allegedly shot him during a "domestic issue" that spiraled out of control Saturday, say authorities.
Bibb County Sheriff's Deputies said in a statement Saturday that they arrested and charged Tracia Hubbard of Macon with the murder of Pastor Brandon Parker. Parker, who served as a reverend at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, was expected to succeed his grandfather, Jacob Parker, 87, who is the church's lead pastor.
An investigation of the pastor's murder is still ongoing but Bibb County sheriff's deputies said they responded to a call of a person shot at 739 Grosso Ave. on Saturday and when they arrived they found Parker lying on the ground outside the address with a gunshot wound to the neck.
The report said a female was kneeled down next to Parker who was pronounced dead at the scene after deputies failed to revive him through CPR.
According to The Telegraph, the domestic issue between Parker and Hubbard started as an argument at a downtown Macon restaurant called Tic Toc.
"This is a terrible tragedy," Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told The Telegraph.
"It's a domestic issue that escalated," he added. "It started at a downtown restaurant. They were at Tic Toc."
Jones, who was forced to step in for Parker to accept a proclamation in honor of the Rev. Jacob Parker on Saturday, said he has known the Parker family for a while. The elder Parker has been the leader of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church since 1967.
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman told The Telegraph that he met with the younger Parker a couple of weeks ago to arrange for the proclamation declaring Elm Street as Rev. Jacob Parker Memorial Way, in honor of his grandfather.
After the ceremony on Saturday he called the event "bittersweet."
"Our thoughts and prayers go out with the entire family. ... It's just a tragic loss and situation," Tillman told The Telegraph.
Tillman further said of Parker: "He was a young man that had his head on strong, and he was a passionate pastor. He eulogized my aunt at her passing a month or so ago. ... He was just a great young man and a great young pastor ... a young, dynamic preacher."
Macon Commissioner Larry Schlesinger, who also spoke at Saturday's ceremony, called the young preacher's death a true tragedy.
"The timing with Parker's dedication of the street in his name and his anniversary service tomorrow makes it all the more tragic for the family that's been a presence for decades," Schlesinger said.
Jones said he has been speaking with the church's youth about the value of walking away from conflict and called for prayers for the Parker family.
"I speak at that Ebenezer Church and I have spoken to the youth group about backing down and backing away," said Jones.
"The family is in turmoil now, so we need prayer," Jones said. "That's all we can do. … This family needs prayer. This church needs prayer, and this community needs prayer."
The Christian Post reached out to Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church for further comment on Monday but no one was available.