The murder of a Salvation Army worker who was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, while clutching his Bible and preaching the gospel has left locals both shaken and heartbroken.
Plesec was known in the community for volunteering his time as a Bible study teacher, mentoring kids and for taking time each day to help those in need. As evidence of just how giving Plesec was, the young man was reportedly saving money at the time of his death to buy a car so that he could take locals to church.
On Wednesday night, those who knew and loved him flocked to the Salvation Army to hold a candlelight vigil and a balloon release in his memory. The group expressed their love for Plesec, WJW-TV reported.
Plesec’s family members and friends also spoke out, remembering their loved one for his life of service and his care of others.
“Everybody knew him,” his friend, Leana Melton, said. “Everybody knew Jared and everybody that knew him loved him.”
But it was Plesec’s faith in God that truly took center stage, as his cousin Diane Schaffer said that he was a spirit-filled person who spent his life following God.
“He was the most Christian, the most godly, the most kind, the most compassionate. He really was,” she said, according to WKYC-TV. “He was here for a great purpose and that purpose was to touch other people’s lives. He certainly touched mine.”
She continued, “His life was based on the Bible. He walked the walk, talked the talk, there was no other way for Jared.”
A court set bond for Jones, who was also accused of going on a number of carjackings after the shooting, at $5 million.
Plesec reportedly knew that he was working and ministering in dangerous areas, but was more concerned with spreading the gospel than with his own well-being.
As Faithwire previously reported, Major Daniel Alverio of the Salvation Army told WJC-TV that Plesec was never afraid of the neighborhoods he would preach in. Alverio said that Plesec lived to “teach people who God was” and to “love and care for people.”
“I would talk to Jared often and he would say that he was not afraid. I would say ‘Jared, be careful in the streets.’ He said, ‘I’m not afraid. I know where I’m going’ and for him he would tell you to die is gain,” Alverio said. “Like he had no problem with the idea of being persecuted for the gospel.”
He continued, “He knew what he believed and he was assured that if anything ever happened to him he was going to be alright.”
The Cleveland City Council also voted on Monday to name a street in Plesec’s honor.
PA potential motive for the murder has not yet been revealed by police. Plesec’s service will be held on Friday evening.