St. Albans congregation remembers man shot, killed after Bible study

Updated: September 23, 2019 07:10 AM

Sunday morning service at St. Albans Church of God and Christ in St. Paul started on time and with its choir leading the congregation in song.

But a familiar face was missing in the crowd. Forty-one-year-old RayVell Carter, a regular who taught adult Sunday school and ushered, was shot and killed Wednesday night outside of the church.

Carter, along with his father and daughter, were in a group of people leaving the church around 8:40 p.m. when they reported to police that someone opened fire on the crowd.

Carter was hit and died shortly after at the scene.

St. Paul police investigating shooting that left man leaving Bible study dead, 2nd possible shooting

As he crafted his sermon, Pastor William Land reflected on his nephew's life and his journey to the church.

"My family always knew RayVell was very gifted and a very special young man," Land said during his message to the congregation. "He was a child of this church and we don't give up on our children."

In his message, Pastor Land called on the congregation to remember the 41-year-old's life and not his death.

"Would his death be any less painful if it happened somewhere else?" he said during his sermon. 

Carter marked the city's 20th homicide in 2019 and the sixth in just a span of 17 days. Land said he felt called to address the overall struggle and hurt happening in the community. 

"It wasn't just because of our situation," he said during an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "It was a message to anyone who has to deal with that and to the community."

Congregation members remember Carter as a vibrant man who volunteered to teach adult Sunday School and helped usher.

"When he decided to give his life to the Lord, you could see the transformation in him," said Carmeletia Harris following Sunday's service. "I love him dearly and he's going be missed."

St. Paul police said they have made no arrests related to the case.

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Kirsten Swanson

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