How We Can Help In the Aftermath of the Tragedy In Bradenton

Many of you have already heard, and some in our church family have direct connection with the church and families involved. 

Here are the details of what happened in Bradenton from our Florida Baptist Witness as written by Keila Diaz.

BRADENTON—At approximately 1:20 Thursday afternoon, officers responded to a shooting at Bayshore Baptist Church. When officers arrived on the scene they discovered one deceased victim, who has been identified as Pastor Tripp Battle by a member of the church.

Deputies in Manatee County are looking for Andres “Andy” Avalos for questioning regarding what appears to be a triple homicide, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

While investigating the shooting at Bayshore Baptist, deputies learned of the possibility of other victims at a residence located at 1208 67th Street NW in Bradenton. They found Amber Avalos and Denise Potter, both deceased. 

Amber Avalos was the nursery and children’s director at Bayshore Baptist.

E.W “Karp” Carpenter, a member of the church since the 1950s, told the Bradenton Herald that Mrs. Avalos “was a quiet person who did a great job with our children.”

Officials from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office say that the two crime scenes “are obviously connected” and that there were three people at Bayshore Baptist at the time of the shooting, including the shooter.

Avalos is still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow. The 2003 gold Chevrolet Suburban Avalos was last seen driving was found at a Walmart store located at 6225 State Road 64.

Battle is survived by his wife, Joy, and their two children.

Carpenter said that Battle “was a great pastor” and that the church’s congregation grew from 30 to more than 100 under his stewardship.

“He was 31 years old and would give you the shirt off his back,” Carpenter said.

Battle is the son-in-law of Keith Johnson, pastor of Wayside Baptist Church in Miami.

Wayside Baptist released this statement:

“Please join together in prayer for the family of Pastor Keith Johnson. His son-in-law, Pastor Tripp Battle, was shot and killed today. He is survived by his wife (Keith and Rhonda’s daughter), Joy, and their two children.

“The Johnsons are on their way to Bradenton. Please do not call or contact them at this time. Please pray for the safety of the family and their consolation in this tragic loss. More information will follow as the details become known.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

“Thank you for your prayers.”

Prayers for the families involved are the primary need and the best we can offer as help at this time.

However, it has come to my attention through other pastors in our Florida Baptist Convention that Tripp, like many SBC pastors, did not have any life insurance and even though the church will do a valiant job in ministering to Joy, the children and others affected, the sad reality is that initially, Joy and her children will be facing some pretty significant financial issues over the next few weeks and months.

Some have asked how they can help, and we know and affirm that prayer for the family must be primary. In addition to prayer, we know that God may lead many of you to offer a financial gift for Joy and her children at this time. Maybe as a family, a small group, Sunday School class, or just as an individual, you can offer some help for this family.

In order to make this as simple as possible, we have set up an E-giving link on our website (and available in this email) so that you can login and make a financial donation. I know that the E-giving program will ask for your name, address and phone number and you may wish to remain anonymous. Rest assured, that information is solely to ensure that your donations via your bank card or bank account are verified. We will not disclose the names of those making donations, and as always, all financial details are secure and protected.

If you wish to write a check or donate with cash, please use an envelope and just write on the memo line of the check or the envelope "BRADENTON" and mail it to the church office (or place in the offering plate on Sunday.)

The church address is:
First Baptist Church
1140 Kingsley Ave
Orange Park, FL 32073

All monies collected for this family will be sent to Joy Battle after the first of the year.  No funds will remain in Orange Park and Joy will be informed that the gift she is receiving comes along with many prayers from the members of First Baptist Church of Orange Park and others in our Jacksonville Baptist Association & Florida Baptist Convention networks.

Click below to make a donation:

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