A neighborhood has been shaken after a man was the victim of a fatal shooting in St Paul, Minnesota, after leaving a Bible study. In the aftermath of the tragedy, RayVell Carter’s uncle, Rev. William Land, Sr., has told anyone considering vengeance that killing Carter’s murderer would go against the beliefs of the family and would fail to take away the pain caused by his nephew’s death.
“You can’t tell me the life of somebody I don’t care about is going to be equivalent of the life of someone I love,” said Land, according to Pioneer Press. “I’m still going to have to deal with the loss of the person I care about.” Land also pointed to the spiritual need of Carter’s killer: “I pray whoever played a role in the murder of RayVell Carter, that they repent of their sins and give their lives to the Lord. RayVell is not in any pain, but those who do not repent, their pain will be worse than imaginable if they don’t.”
Fatal Shooting in St Paul
RayVell Carter, 41, was killed around 8:40 p.m. last Wednesday while leaving St. Albans Church of God in the Summit-University neighborhood of St. Paul. He ran from the scene after being struck by a bullet in his abdomen, and one neighbor told WCCO News that he heard eight bullets being fired, as well as Carter’s eight-year-old daughter yelling, “They shot my Dad!” Carter’s father, who has a permit to carry, returned fire and also called the police. Officers followed a trail of blood to Carter’s body, but even though they and paramedics tried to save him, he died at the scene.
Police have not arrested any suspects in the shooting as of yet. Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman, said, “Why anyone would shoot into a crowd in a neighborhood while people are leaving church is incomprehensible. At this point, investigators do not believe this was a random shooting, but until we find the person or people responsible we won’t know for sure.”
The Emptiness of Revenge
In addition to emphasizing that killing someone else could never make up for the loss of his nephew, Land pointed out that revenge and hatred are the very motives that likely influenced Carter’s murderer to kill him. The pastor also said that many people have contacted him, expressing how upset they are that Carter was murdered outside a church. But Land told the congregation that his nephew’s death would have been just as painful no matter where it had occurred.
Carter had had his run-ins with the law, said Land, who acknowledged in an interview that his nephew might have been killed because of that history. The 41-year-old was released from prison in 2017 after being incarcerated for four years on drug charges. Even though he had developed a pattern of falling away from God and returning to church only to fall away again, Land said that recently Carter had truly turned his life around: “We…were able to witness the transformation that occurred in his life within the last year, and it was genuine.”
According to WCCO, in his sermon Land emphasized the importance of all people, including Carter’s murderer, being prepared to face life after death, just as his nephew was: “RayVell died the way he lived: for the Lord. And with his Bible.”
In spite of Carter’s struggles, St. Albans never gave up on him. He was “deeply loved,” said Land, “not only in our family, but in our ministry.” Carter’s aunt, Shirley Land, said, “He was an awesome father and, more than anything these last few years, his life was filled with God. That was his life—church and family.”
RayVell Carter’s death is the 20th homicide St. Paul has seen this year and the sixth that has occurred within the past month. His funeral will take place Friday at 12 p.m. at Redeeming Love Church in Maplewood.