Alabama community mourns murdered minister; police say person of interest still on run
The death of 58-year-old Willie Charles Scott has left a “great void in this community,” said his family and friends.
Troy police discovered Scott dead inside his residence in the 22000 block of U.S. Highway 231 shortly after noon on Wednesday.
Police are seeking a person of interest in connection to the death, as well as Scott’s missing vehicle: a red four-door 2003 Saturn Ion that should have the Alabama Tag 55AY701.
Lee Scott, his sister, said his life was all about ministry.
“From a young boy until the last breath he took, ministry was his life,” Lee said. “He lived his ministry, he walked his ministry. He was born into the ministry, not made. Bishop Scott was an absolute. Because he believed ministry is not merely something that an individual can do, but what he must do. The drive in his ministry became a burden upon his heart that he continually worked at to fulfill. It was a holy preoccupation within his soul that caused him to step out in faith and embrace the work of ministry. His divine ministry gripped his soul and governed his spirit.”
Scott had just received his honorary doctorate in ministry, Lee said. He was the Bishop overseeing Outreach Endtime Deliverance Church.
“He had that loving concern for others and a deep compassion for people,” Lee said. “As part of his divine ministry, the Holy Spirit imparted a consuming desire for the spiritual welfare of others. Bishop Scott’s life legacy and ministry included a concern about and interest in others, a realization of their lost state and condition and a desire to do something about the, and to tell them the message and point the way to salvation.”
Sheila Deveridge said she and Scott were lifelong friends, growing up together at Bethel Baptist Church.
“He later started preaching as a young teenager and formed his own church,” Deveridge said. “He was a true servant of God. And when I say servant, I mean he lived according to what the Lord said: to serve your fellow man. That is what he did throughout this community, the state of Alabama and many other states. He was one that would help anyone that needed his help and never expected anything in return. He was a person who was the same no matter when you saw him. He always greeted you with a smile, always had encouraging words for anyone. He had a heart of gold”
Shelia Jackson said she is also a longtime friend of Scott’s.
“I’ve been knowing him forever,” Jackson said. “I just sang at his church at pastor’s appreciation in September. He was a giving person, always trying to help somebody no matter who it was. He was a motivator and just a kind person. If you were having a bad day, he’d be there to pick you up. I’m going to miss him.”
Deveridge said Scott would want the community to continue to grow and turn toward God.
“If everyone who proclaimed to be a Christian would possess the spirit of giving and helping their fellow man, our world would be much better place to live in,” Deveridge said. “If he could speak with us today, he would say to trust in the Lord and continue to do his will.”
No further details have been released yet by police as to the nature of Scott’s death and no charges have been announced.
A picture of a person of interest in this case has been released. Anyone who can identify the person in the photo, or has any information on the whereabouts of this individual or the 2003 Saturn Ion, is asked to contact the Troy Police Department at 334-566-0500, the secret witness line at 334-566-5555 or Crimestoppers at 334-215-STOP (7867).
The Troy Police Department is being assisted in this investigation by the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, the Pike County Coroner’s Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Science.
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