A pastor was following his instincts when he failed to make contact with parishioner Benny Hallmark.
"It wasn't like Benny not to show up, and then when I called there was no answer," Woodhaven Baptist Church Pastor Scott Patz says. "It's very shocking and very difficult to deal with."
So Patz went to Hallmark's home, only to discover the unthinkable: Hallmark was found shot to death in his recliner. Police later found another dead body across the street from Hallmark's home.
Police arrested Jimmy Merritt and charged him with first-degree homicide.
Hallmark's Orlando-area church, though, feels the loss.
"He was such a sweet, caring, kind, considerate, loving man of God. No one like him. He is in the arms of the Lord. Going to miss his sweet smile & the warm hugs," one person wrote on the church's funeral announcement.
"Please keep Benny's family in your prayers. Benny's smile and uplifting personality will be sorely missed. We love you, Benny," according to the church Facebook post.
"So loving and joyous. I'm missing him terribly," Patz says.
Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
AMAZING CHRISTMAS DEALS: (1) Buy A Set, Get A Set FREE on all Life in the Spirit Bundles. (2) Save 30%-60% on all Tote Bag plus Book Bundles. (3) Save 50% off Select Bibles plus receive a Free Gift. Visit the Charisma Store to view all our specials. U.S Residents always get FREE Shipping!
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!