A man was shot to death in Montgomery, Alabama, as he was reportedly sharing the Gospel over the weekend.
Thomas Hand, Jr., 37, was the husband of former Miss Mississippi Christine Kozlowski Hand. He died at the scene of the crime in front of his 2-year-old child, WLOX-TV reported.
Some outlets report his wife and child were both with him, with the Daily Mail proclaiming he was sharing his Christian faith with individuals in a rough Alabama neighborhood at the time of the attack.
Sources told the outlet Hand was discussing faith on Saturday, when a mumbling man approached and decided to open fire. A 17-year-old named Jerimiah Walker was reportedly arrested and charged with capital murder.
“What you said is true,” Christian Kozlowski Hand reportedly said in a brief statement to the Daily Mail. “It was a complete random act of violence.”
Hand, pregnant with the couple’s second child, took to Facebook Jan. 23 to thank friends and loved ones for reaching out and briefly updating everyone on what unfolded.
“Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers during this time of the passing of my husband Tommy Hand,” she wrote. “I feel the love and support from everyone and just wanted to let everyone know that indeed Tommy was shot and killed last night on Texas Street in Montgomery.”
Hand said she welcomes the messages but is “overwhelmed” by questions and the need to retell what unfolded.
“I will at a later date release more information to explain everything to everyone,” she wrote.
Hand asked supporters of her husband’s business, Hand Nutrition, to remain with the family and pledged to continue serving them.
“We ask that you stick with us as this will be our only means of support for our son and baby to be,” she said. “We need your support now more than ever. We love you guys, the company will relocate to my hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi. The weekend orders will ship on Monday as usual.”
The Daily Mail reported that Thomas Hand became a Christian in 2018 and that he and his wife would often visit tough neighborhoods to share their faith. Some reports indicate this was something they did on Saturdays.
“He started going to church, went and got saved,” friend Luke Lemus told the Daily Mail. “He studied the Bible day-in and day-out.”
Lemus added, “It’s a huge tragedy, not only to his wife, but we lost a very dear friend, as well. Heaven definitely gained an angel. It’s selfish to think we wish we could have it back.”
A heartbreaking Facebook post by Thomas Hand just days before the shooting celebrated his wife on their anniversary. At the end of the message, he wrote, “I can’t wait to meet our next baby this summer.”
A GoFundMe organized by Hand’s sister with a goal of just $3,000 has already brought in more than $33,000, as friends, loved ones, and strangers pitch in to help.
The goal is to raise money to help support the grieving family, especially with a new baby on the way.
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***