A 21-year-old Salvation Army worker who was shot and killed while sharing the Gospel has been remembered as a devout Christian who had "no problem with the idea of being persecuted for the Gospel."
According to WKYC.com, Jared Plesec was found shot in the head at an apartment complex in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, while holding his Bible. He was on his way to collect money for the charity and was wearing his full Salvation Army uniform when he was killed,
"He was on his way on his day off, in his uniform, to work for the Salvation Army," Councilman Mike Polensek said Monday. "He fell to the ground clutching his Bible."
In a statement, The Salvation Army revealed the young man had been a longtime employee of the organization.
"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," The Salvation Army said.
"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 our 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."
Police have arrested 27-year-old William Jones in connection with the murder and charged him with aggravated murder, grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding. Witnesses told Fox 8 News that Plesec was sharing scripture with Jones just before Jones shot him in the head.
The Salvation Army held a service for Plesec on Sunday, where friends of the young man remembered him as a devout Christian who willingly shared the gospel and lived to "love and care for people."
"I would talk to Jared often and he would say that he was not afraid," Major Daniel Alverio of the Salvation Army told Fox 8 News. "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. Like he had no problem with the idea of being persecuted for the Gospel. He knew what he believed and he was assured that if anything ever happened to him he was going to be alright," he added.
"These are kids that he calls on Sundays. He makes sure they come to church and when they are not here he would say 'I miss you,' and today we are missing him," said Alverio.
Plesec's cousin revealed the 21-year-old was trying to save money so he could get a car to pick people up and bring them to church and to the Salvation Army.
"He wasn't afraid of retaliation or whatever. He was well-loved in the community and intended to stay on his path," said Bob Gornik.
Others said that Plesec's passion for the gospel encouraged them to dedicate their lives to Christ.
"He showed me the light and everything that the Lord could do to me, how he could work through me," said Amante Crawley. "Anybody who did him wrong he just loved. He loved everyone. That's why I can't understand why someone would do this to him. He was a loving person."