The 11 a.m. Sunday service at Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington was filled to capacity in part, the senior pastor said, because some 100 classmates of a teen fatally wounded last week by an Arlington police officer attended.
Christian Taylor’s life and death became a lesson for those who listened at the church’s second service of the morning
“One thing that I’ve been convinced of in the past 72 hours is that tomorrow is not promised to anyone,” Pastor Ronnie Goines said in his sermon at the church, 2455 SE Green Oaks Blvd. “You keep talking about changing your life tomorrow. But who says you will have a tomorrow?”
Taylor, 19, was shot to death Friday as rookie police officer Brad Miller, 49, nearing the end of his field training cycle, responded to a burglary call and was confronted by the suspect, police said. The unarmed teenager died of gunshot wounds in the neck, chest and abdomen, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
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Taylor’s death was ruled a homicide and comments exploded onto Twitter at about the same time the world was observing the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, 19, an unarmed African-American who was slain by an officer in Ferguson, Mo.
Goines said Taylor and another teen came to him about a month ago.
“For the last month and a half he [Taylor] talked about how he wanted to change the world and how he wanted to get the message of Jesus Christ out to the teens here before he died,” Goines said. “What has happened will make us a little more intentional when we look into the eyes of another young person who wants to change.”
The other teen, Iman Jefferson, said in an interview at the service that Taylor wanted to give his life to God and become closer to the pastor.
Goines promised before his congregation to take Jefferson under his wing, invite him to his home and encourage him.
“There are people around us who have died to get our attention,” Goines said.
On Saturday, hundreds of Taylor’s friends and relatives gathered at the church for a candlelight vigil for the African-American college football scholarship winner.
A 2014 graduate of Mansfield Summit High School, Taylor was scheduled to start football practice this week at Angelo State University.
He was accused of vandalizing a vehicle and crashing his SUV through the glass window in the front of a showroom at the Classic Buick GMC dealership on the Interstate 20 service road east of Collins Street. Surveillance video released by the dealership shows a suspect breaking the windshield out of a Ford Mustang and driving an SUV through the showroom windows.
The Arlington police have asked the FBI to assist in the investigation, Chief Will Johnson said Saturday at a news conference.
After his sermon Sunday, Goines said in an interview that both Johnson and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams have been open and forthright. Goines said he expects a thorough, transparent investigation as well as appropriate action if an officer is found to have violated either the law or department policy.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752