Pastor shot confronting accused car thieves at church, Tennessee cops say. ‘A fighter’

A pastor came out of his church to confront accused car thieves before Sunday service when he was shot in the face, Tennessee police and family say.

He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, and he’s now stable, according to the Memphis Police Department.

The man, identified by family and the church as Clemmie Livingston Jr., was shot outside New Zionfield Baptist Church in Memphis shortly after 9 a.m. on Feb. 25, police said.

Livingston saw two people attempting to steal a 2019 silver Chevrolet Corvette, Memphis police said in a statement to McClatchy News. As the people fled in the stolen vehicle, they shot at Livingston, striking him, police said.

Another person at the church returned fire at the accused thieves before they drove away, police said.

“He came out the church to protect the car because he feared no evil,” Livingston’s grandson told WMC. “The church will comfort him, the people will comfort him, my brother will comfort him, my uncle will comfort him, I know God will comfort him.”

His family asked the community to pray for the 71-year-old’s recovery.

“Right now he is in surgery may God touch the doctors hand,” a family member wrote on Facebook later that Sunday. “My dad has always been a fighter and I’m praying he keep on keeping on.”

“You got what you came for, but why hurt him? That’s my question,” his son Keith Livingston said in an interview with WATN-TV. “He didn’t hurt nobody.”

Family told news outlets that Livingston was shot in the mouth and said on Facebook he’s been using a whiteboard to communicate since surgery.

His daughter Kevona Livingston shared she was grateful her father was still here, but she wished she could have a real conversation with him.

“I have talked to him EVERYDAY for almost 25 years,” his daughter wrote on Facebook, adding she wants to hear his “voice so bad.”

She called her father her world.

No one is in custody, and the Corvette hasn’t been found yet, Memphis police said Feb. 27. The investigation is ongoing.

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