‘It does anger me,’ Pastor reacts after teen found dead in church parking lot

A Newport News pastor responds after a teen was shot in his church's parking lot on Friday, Nov. 3.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Police are looking for the person who killed a 15-year-old on Friday.

For the first time on Monday, the pastor of the church where the teen was found spoke to 10 On Your Side.

Churches have long been believed to be a safe haven, a place of peace.

However on Friday night the parking lot at Macedonia Baptist Church on Marshall Avenue became a crime scene.

“It does anger me because everybody’s life is valuable,” said Reverend John Wilson.

Wilson has been pastor at the church for 11 years.

He’s seen a lot change in that time, from lower church attendance to crime just outside the sanctuary doors.

“There’s shooting numerous times in this area when we are here for bible study or other activities,” Wilson said.

But what’s happening outside hasn’t changed the work done inside.

The church has three different youth programs.

Link to programs: In-Gape brochure

Through one of them, young people can complete community service sentences at the church.

A different program allows students to finish assignments even after being expelled from school.

The church has seen more than 4,000 youth in the programs since the launch more than 20 years ago.

“You don’t win them all, but if you can just save one you make a difference in one person’s life, and that makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

Reverend Wilson told Cummings he didn’t know the 15-year-old who was shot and killed Friday, but he showed us where police say he was found.

“In the rear corner of our parking lot,” Wilson said.

Officers say they aren’t sure where the crime happened, but say the teen had at least one gunshot wound to the head.

Now this pastor has sorrow and compassion for the family of a young man whose life was cut short.

“My heart goes out to them and I do wish them love and prayers,” he said.

Citing changes to the state code, Newport News police say they are not able to release the victim’s name.

Police have not released any suspect information.