CLEVELAND, NC (WBTV)- The Cleveland man who was shot in the back of the head was supposed to have left Wednesday with his wife and church choir to sing and preach at a Florida prison.
Other members of the choir from Cleveland Believer’s Fellowship Church decided to continue the trip.
“They almost didn’t go but they decided it would be good to just go down there anyway to share Christ, and the love of Jesus to these people down there” says Sarah Foster.
But for other friends, relatives, and Kauffman’s wife – a hospital vigil continues – as they pray for his recovery.
“I’m feeling a lot more at peace about it. It was pretty scary there for a couple of days and learning to rely on God this whole time” says Foster.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Kauffman was shot during a home break-in at their home along the 4200 block of Chenault Road, in Cleveland, just after 10 a.m. on Monday.
The couple had just returned home from visiting family when deputies say Kauffman saw a car parked near the house, and he believed it was broken down.
Investigators say the 25-year-old Kauffman dropped his wife off at a friend’s house.. which is near-by.. and went to help the people in the car.
The Sheriff’s Office says when Kauffman returned to the house, he saw men taking items from his house. Investigators say Kauffman was on the phone with 9-1-1 when he was shot. Detectives say his wife heard shots being fired.
Foster, his friend from Church, says she’s been checking the face book page, “Praying for Marco” to get updates on his condition.
She says Thursday morning around 4 o’clock, Kauffman’s wife posted that doctors were “having trouble with the pressure in his brain increasing again.” The posts says “nurses say it’s a balancing act right now.”
Merritt Eaton says he’s known Kauffman a long time.
“We’re childhood friends actually. I grew up knowing Marcus. We did everything together” Eaton says. “It’s heart wrenching to see such a good guy get hurt, family members hurt. It’s bad.”
Eaton says he has made several trips to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to see Kauffman and “to be honest with you I feel a little angry for something so bad to happy to such a good person.”
Another family friend tells WBTV they have no anger toward the shooter.
Abe “Junior” Troyer has know Marco Kauffman all his life. He said the young man is “brimming with life a lot of hope and a great future before him.”
Troyer said he and their church family at the Cleveland Believers Fellowship church have been praying non-stop since the shooting.
They held a special prayer service Wednesday night. Although the number of members at the service was small, Troyer says their faith is not.
“This was a not a surprise to God,” he said. ”For some reason God permitted this to happen and I personally believe and I think the brethren here are united and we feel God is going to bring something good out of this.”
While that good remains a mystery, Kauffman has people from all over sending up prayers.
The facebook page, Praying for Marco, now has more than 30 thousand likes – and family members say doctors expect the volunteer firefighter to pull through.
A post on the page Tuesday read, “Thank you so much for your continued prayers. There is not a lot of news at this point, Marco’s condition remains pretty much the same. His doctors say that the next two days are going to be the most critical for him. The swelling will likely peak during that time. The family is keenly feeling the sustaining grace of Jesus. At the same time this is unbearably difficult. Please pray that the swelling and pressure will remain low over these next two days.”
Followers have sent messages of prayer from all around the world.
The family released the following statement on their Facebook page ‘Pray for Marco’ Wednesday morning.
“Our position as a family is that we are not stopping with this; we continue to ask for complete healing. We accept Gods will, but to the kingdom of darkness we will not give an inch.”
At the Cleveland Volunteer Fire department – a sign that read, “Pray for Marco, donate here” is up in his honor. Firefighters say strangers have been stopping by and donating money.
Relatives say they appreciate how the community has come together to support Kauffman.
As the prayers and well wishes pour in, Troyer wants everyone to know there is no anger toward whoever pulled the trigger.
“Our hearts desire would be that he could come to know the Lord and be saved and get his guilt and his sins washed away in the blood,” he said.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Kauffman called 911 to say his home was being burglarized, and then advised that shots were being fired. That’s when deputies say the call was cut off and ended.
When they arrived on scene, deputies found Kauffman with an apparent gunshot wound. He was found inside his 2004 Acura a short distance from the house.
Deputies say Kauffman had struck a tree, causing even more injuries.
According to officials with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, five schools were temporarily placed in a “Code Yellow Lockdown” after the shooting.
The schools, which were West Rowan High, West Rowan Middle, Cleveland, Mt. Ulla, and Woodleaf Elementary, were later given an “all clear,” and proceeded with normal dismissal.
Deputies say the 911 call initially went to the Iredell County 911 Center, who transferred the call to Davie County 911. Davie County 911 immediately realized the address was in Rowan County, and routed the call to the Rowan County 911 Center.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy who was responding to the call was injured when a white van ran a stop sign causing Deputy Mike Dixon to swerve off the road and into a tree.
Deputy Dixon suffered only minor injuries, but the van left the scene of the accident without stopping. The van and it’s owner were later located, and have been cited by the NC Highway Patrol.
Investigators are asking for any information concerning vehicle traffic on Chenault Road and the area between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., on Monday. Detectives are seeking information concerning a teal, or blue colored car, possibly a Pontiac, that may have been broken down or appeared broken down in this area. This vehicle was operated and occupied by at least one black male.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.
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