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Longtime member shot and killed outside Texas church


Alveda Edwards spotted her estranged husband, Tommy Edwards Jr. while walking into the Greenville Avenue church just before worship on Sunday. She wasn’t planning to meet him and certainly had no way of knowing he had brought a gun, as police say. The 43-year-old woman was shot multiple times in the face in the church’s parking lot and pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas shortly after the shooting. Tommy Edwards Jr., who witnesses say fled in his car, turned himself in to police in the lobby of the Richardson City Jail just after 11 a.m. Monday. A murder warrant had been issued for his arrest. Tommy Edwards Jr. was taken to the Dallas County Jail and was arraigned Monday afternoon, a police spokesman said. “It was a scene you would never in a million years expect to see outside your church building,” Patrick Worthey, an associate minister at Greenville Avenue, told The Christian Chronicle on Monday.
More than 20 church members were nearby and rushed to Edwards’ aid after the shots were fired, he said. Forensic experts and homicide detectives questioned witnesses, while others who had arrived for the early service were inside singing and praising God, unaware of what had happened, Worthey said.
“We’re counseling lots of people now, especially those who saw the shooting, of course, and will continue to work with them to make sure they can cope,” Worthey said.
The 10:45 a.m. worship took on a much more somber tone as elders asked God to let Edwards live. After news of her death, Sunday evening services were devoted to prayer for Alveda Edwards, who had worshipped at Greenville Avenue for more than 20 years.
Now those prayers are for her family, Worthey said, including Tommy Edwards Jr.
“He still has a soul to save,” Worthey said, adding that he had never seen him at the church.
Alveda Edwards was a faithful member and active Bible class participant who loved to sing and was an alto in Greenville Avenue’s adult chorus, “One Accord,” the minister said. The Edwards’ two grown children – a son and a daughter – also were members before leaving for college, he said.
Worthey said some at the congregation knew Alveda Edwards had moved out of the couple’s home and wanted to file for a divorce, but not that she had been threatened, as police said Sunday.
Worthey said he and other church leaders want members to come to them if they’re afraid of being hurt by a spouse or another individual.
“This sends out a warning sign to our members and frankly everyone else,” he said. “If there are possible questions or concerns about individuals in their lives, we want to try and protect them, maybe keep something like this from happening again.”
Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Greenville Avenue church. Condolences may be sent to the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ, 1013 S Greenville Ave., Richardson, TX 75081.
Sept. 11, 2006

Filed under: Staff Reports Top Stories

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