Pastor shot in mouth during carjacking speaks, is grateful to be alive

Zionfield Baptist Church Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr.
Zionfield Baptist Church Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr. | Screenshot/Fox13

Nearly three weeks after he was shot in the mouth by carjackers as he was getting ready for a service at his church in Memphis, Tennessee, Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr. is on the mend. He is talking slowly, beginning to eat solid food, and is grateful to be alive.

“I cannot explain how it happened. All I know is that I was struck,” Livingston told Fox13 Wednesday in an interview inside Zionfield Baptist Church.

“While I was waiting for the paramedics, all I could see or kept asking myself was, ‘am I going to be dead in a few minutes,’ because I was losing blood at a record rate. But I held on to my belief,” he said.

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The Memphis Police Department noted in a previous report that the pastor, whose daughter says he is also battling bone cancer, was shot just after 9 a.m. on Feb. 25 as he stepped out of his church before the start of his morning service.

“The victim was shot when he came out of the church as the suspects were stealing a 2019 silver Chevrolet Corvette. As the suspects fled the scene in the stolen vehicle, they fired shots, striking the victim,” a statement from the police said. “A second person who was outside of the church at the time the car was stolen returned fire after the suspects shot first.”

No suspects have yet been held in connection with the shooting, but the pastor’s family members are grateful he's alive and focused on his complete recovery.

His wife, Gwendoline Livingston, celebrated that her husband is now beginning to enjoy her cooking again.

“I wanted to be as happy as we were, and so I can make the rice go just a little bit more down, and yesterday it was greens and dressing, and before that was cabbage. I asked him, 'how was it?' and he said, 'it tastes like how it's supposed to taste,’” she told the news outlet.

In a recent update she shared on a GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $50,000 to help with her husband’s recovery, Gwendoline Livingston praised the complete strangers who have already donated more than $33,000 toward their goal.

“We just want to say thank you. Just when you think people don’t care about each other anymore you all stepped in and showed us just how much so many people across the country do. Without even knowing us you are there for us in a tremendous way and we can’t say thank you enough and there are no words to express just how appreciative we are to all of you. Whatever you’ve done for us you didn’t have to do it at all,” she wrote.

“It’s amazing how bullets can destroy so much. Because of your caring and sharing you have encouraged both of us so much. There has definitely been a change in our daily lives. Clemmie is a go-getter and there [wasn’t] a day before this incident he didn’t awake early every morning to make each day positive and worry free for us,” she explained.

“But his heart is the church. He is truly a called man of God. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his members to help them along the way, as well as others up and down the byways. All you had to do was call him. He is truly a full-time minister.”

She said her husband will have to do at least two more surgeries in the next several weeks and then possibly a third to ensure he has a full recovery from the damage he suffered from the shooting.

Pastor Livingston, who has lived in Memphis for more than 60 years, wants to help end gun violence in his community by working with local leaders to create more opportunities for youth and promote healthier families.

“Give them something to do. Don’t steal my car, go buy yourself a car,” he said. “So many of these households and homes don’t have a father or anything in the home. So, we have to look at all that.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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