A noted evangelist and bodybuilder, also the husband of a former Miss America Contestant and soon-to-be father of a second child, was shot dead in the street in Alabama while preaching the word of God.
Tommy Hand, 37, was fatally shot around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 in Montgomery. What prompted the shooting was not immediately clear, but a suspect identified as Jeremiah Walker, 17, has been arrested and charged with capital murder, according to police. Witness accounts said the assailant walked up to Hand “mumbling” before he opened fire.
The shooting occurred in front of the couple’s two-year-old son Roman, according to The U.S. Sun, in a rough neighborhood where Hand had gone to preach.
Christine Kozlowski Hand, 33, now pregnant and expecting a second child in August, represented Mississippi at the 2009 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas after winning the state title in 2008. She called the killing a “random act of violence.”
“Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers during this time of the passing of my husband Tommy Hand. I feel the love and support from everyone,” Christine wrote on Jan. 23 on Facebook.
Dean St. Pierre, acquainted with Tommy through bodybuilding, said that Tommy had “turned his life over to God” and was a loyal friend.
Derek Arnoult, who was friends with Tommy, said the tragedy was “hard to understand.”
“This is a hard hit but this man preached the word [with] his heart and soul,” Arnoult told Fox News Digital. “It was an honor to know him. He helped me through dark times and good times. He definitely was heaven sent.”
Tommy was a former competitive bodybuilder who won a Mr. New Orleans title and ran a nutrition company.