Victim Heywood Patterson Loved His Church and Community
Also killed Saturday was 67-year-old Heyward Patterson, a taxi driver who took shoppers to and from the store—even if they couldn’t pay. He also served as deacon at State Tabernacle Church of God and was armor-bearer for Pastor Russell Bell.
“Our hearts are broken,” says Bell. “Deacon Patterson was a man who loved people. He loved the community just as much as he loved the church. … I praise God for him.”
Patterson, who volunteered to clean the church on Saturdays, also was active in the congregation’s food kitchen. He loved to cook for and visit with people experiencing homelessness, according to former wife Tirzah Patterson. “He would give the shirt off his back,” she says. “He was a good man.”
Tracey Bell, the church’s first lady, calls Patterson “truly a man of God” and “a good friend to the church, a good friend to the community.”
Though police have identified the alleged gunman, it is the policy of ChurchLeaders not to name assailants in mass shootings/active shooter situations in an effort not to give assailants increased airtime.