A pastor who fled the war in Congo to seek a better life in the U.S. was found shot last Thursday morning outside of his apartment in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pastor Lubunga Lumenge, 30, was found by a passerby just before 7:00 a.m. in the grass outside his apartment, WTVF reported. He later died at the scene.
Semetta Simmons told the outlet she discovered Lumenge's body just steps from another apartment's patio door.
"Just laying there and people were just walking past him like he was just trash in the yard," she said.
Simmons, whose own son was murdered ten years ago, said she hopes Lumenge's family can find justice and peace.
"My prayers are with them," she told WTVF.
Neighbors at Residences at Stonebrook tell police they heard a single gunshot around 4:00 am Thursday, according to WKRN-TV.
In a statement, the Nashville Metro Police Department said Lumenge's murder remains under investigation.
Mto Biko Biko, a friend of Lumenge told WKRN the news of his friend's death was "really devastating." The men had first met at an unnamed church where Lumenge was the leader of the worship prayer team.
"It's really shocking," he explained. "I was really devastated feeling like, is this real or am I just dreaming?"
"He was a good person. He was a good person because he was someone who was really attached to the community and someone who was really willing to help other people and someone who was really concerned with other people's problems or difficulties," Biko Biko said.
"He's originally from the Congo, but we all grew up in Tanzania after we flee the war in the Congo. He used to be a teacher back in Tanzania, and then, when he moved to the U.S., from what I know, in Dallas, he then started serving God in a church there in Dallas," he continued.
David Johnson, an associate pastor at Grace Church of the Nazarene, told The Christian Post (CP) Lumenge was "very active" in the Swahili ministry, but had moved to a different location after a strained relationship with the church.
Lil Cook, a ministry assistant at Woodmont Baptist Church, also told the CP Lumenge would come to events at the church where his brother-in-law, Useni Iweya, is a custodian but he had his own church which she did not name.
"He would come to events here but he was pastor at his own church," Cook said. "We don't really know anything about it (murder). We were all just very sad for the family."
Biko Biko told WKRN he was confident that Lumenge "must be gone to heaven." He also said the pastor left behind a wife and children.
Anyone with information about the pastor's murder is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. Callers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.
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