Church members mourn killing of 7th Ward man studying to be a minister _lowres

Roshawn Smith

Members of Abundant Life Tabernacle held an emotional memorial service Tuesday evening to mourn the death of a young deacon who had been studying to become a minister at the Baptist church.

Members of the church said Roshawn “Ro” Smith, 24, became the latest victim of the city’s gun violence late Monday when he was robbed and fatally shot in the 7th Ward.

“I don’t know how I’m going to tell my children that their daddy got shot and died,” said Smith’s grief-stricken wife, Joanisha, a mother of three.

The shooting happened about 11:50 p.m. Monday near Republic Street and St. Bernard Avenue, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Officers found Smith at the scene with several gunshot wounds to his body. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Karmen McKinley, a spokeswoman for Abundant Life Tabernacle, said Smith had been “robbed of rent money and items to cover this month’s bills, leaving his wife with nothing to survive.”

No arrests have been made in the case.

Smith had recently concluded his seminary studies, McKinley said, and was preparing to graduate.

Smith’s family gathered with fellow church members Tuesday evening at a home on Paul Morphy Street, praying that Smith’s killer would turn himself in. The church’s pastor, Tyrone Jefferson Jr., led the service, which highlighted Smith’s life and allowed his loved ones to grieve.

Family members stressed that Smith had not been involved with drug dealers. His wife said she could not imagine who might have pulled the trigger.

“He had never been in trouble, besides maybe a traffic ticket,” Jefferson said. “He had a great character and was well loved.”

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