Jared Plesec, a 21-year-old Salvation Army employee, was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Cleveland apartment complex while he was reportedly carrying his Bible and sharing the Gospel with his suspected killer.
Plesec was reading Scripture to 27-year-old William Jones, according to WJW, just before the suspected killer shot the Salvation Army Bible study teacher in the head. After allegedly killing Plesec, Jones reportedly went on to break into at least six vehicles before police apprehended him.
According to WKYC, Plesec, who had the day off, was on his way to raise money for the Salvation Army by volunteering his time to staff a red kettle.
David Hudson, commissioner and national commander of Salvation Army USA, described Plesec as “an exemplary soldier” for the faith-based organization:
Our prayers are with the friends, family and community of Jared Plesec. He was an exemplary soldier of The Salvation Army, as shown in the testimonies of those whose lives he made better each day. While his death makes no sense, his example will inspire for years to come.
— Commissioner Hudson (@CommDavidHudson) December 4, 2017
Here’s the Salvation Army’s statement, via WKYC:
Jared was an employee (youth worker) and church member of The Salvation Army Temple Corps Community Center in Collinwood. Jared died as he lived, sharing God’s love. Jared passed away in full Salvation Army uniform with his Bible in hand leaving home on his day off to volunteer at The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle.
In the past two days, hundreds of individuals, mostly youth, have flocked to The Salvation Army in Collinwood to pay tribute to Jared’s life. They all had one thing in common: Jared loved them, he cared for them, and he changed their lives.
Today, we feel great loss that Jared was taken from us too soon. Yet we rejoice that he is in heaven with the loving Heavenly Father he told so many people about.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Maj. Daniel Alverio, also of the Salvation Army, told WJW he would tell Plesec to “be careful in the streets,” to which his 21-year-old colleague would reply: “I'm not afraid. I know where I'm going.”
At 10 am on GMC Sunday: A man goes on a carjacking spree killing one man along the way - 21-year-old Jared Plesec. I just spoke to a Major with the Salvation Army where Jared worked. This is how he described him. Hear more coming up on @WEWS pic.twitter.com/8M35N0mtFf
— Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw) December 3, 2017
“For him he would tell you to die is gain. Like he had no problem with the idea of being persecuted for the Gospel,” Alverio explained. “He knew what he believed and he was assured that if anything ever happened to him he was going to be alright.”
Police have not yet released a motive for the crime, but Jones is being charged with aggravated murder, grand theft auto, and fleeing and eluding.
Watch a local report below.