A man accused of fatally shooting a Salvation Army worker who was going out to collect money at one of the charity’s kettles tried to get away by carjacking four vehicles before he was arrested, police said.
A judge on Monday ordered that William Jones, 27, be held on a $5 million bond on aggravated murder and other charges.
Police said 21-year-old Jared Plesec was in his Salvation Army uniform and leaving the lobby of his apartment complex Saturday when Jones shot him in the head at close range. A spokesman for the charity said Plesec was a youth worker with the organization and that he died with a Bible in his hands.
Friends told Cleveland media outlets that Plesec had worked with the Salvation Army for several years and that he was a Bible study teacher there.
Lurlene Johnson, who supervises the Salvation Army in Cleveland, said Plesec was a mentor to dozens of teens.
“Jared meant the world to them. He for many of them was the person who guided them, the person who encouraged them, and the person who listened to them,” Johnson said.
Police have not released a motive for the shooting. Court records did not indicate whether Jones has an attorney.
Investigators said Jones ran away from the apartment building after the shooting, pulled a 68-year-old woman from her car and sped off.
He stole three more cars, police said, and shot a woman in the leg during one carjacking.
Police later surrounded and arrested Jones in a suburban Lakewood parking lot where they said he had taken a car from a 65-year-old woman.
Jones was released from prison in October 2016 after serving nearly two years for an armed carjacking. Prison records show he was on post-prison release supervision.