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Grief as father of Norwich church leader killed in Los Angeles drive-by shooting

PUBLISHED: 12:47 03 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:26 04 February 2018

Chantel Norman with her father Joey Cruz. Mr Cruz was killed in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles. Pic: Jon Norman.

Chantel Norman with her father Joey Cruz. Mr Cruz was killed in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles. Pic: Jon Norman.

Jon Norman

Support has flooded in for the leader of a Norwich church, after her father was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in the United States.

Joey Cruz, the father of Chantel Norman, who leads the city’s Soul Church with her husband Jon, was shot in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night and died in hospital.

Mr Norman, who is also club chaplain at Norwich City Football Club and a canon of Norwich Cathedral, posted a message on Twitter about his father-in-law’s death in which he said: “Please keep my dear wife and her family in your prayers right now. Last night in downtown LA, her dad Joey was shot dead in a cowardly attack. Thank you.”

The pair, who have two children, are still in the dark about the precise circumstances around the shooting of Mr Cruz.

Mrs Norman, who is originally from the United States, posted a picture of her father on Instagram along with a message.

Soul Church leaders Jon and Chantel Norman. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Soul Church leaders Jon and Chantel Norman. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

She said: “Last year I reconnected with my real dad and it was the most amazing experience and God truly brought healing.

“Last night in Los Angeles my dad Joe Cruz was shot in the chest by a senseless and cowardly act of gun violence. This morning my dad passed away and my heart is broken. Please pray for my Cruz family.”

The posts have led to hundreds of online condolences and support for the couple, who have run the Soul Church in Mason Road, Catton Grove, since 2014.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk wrote: “So sorry to hear that Jon, praying for you guys,” while Mary Rudd, a lay canon at Norwich Cathedral, tweeted: “Thinking of you at this time.”

The Soul Church in Mason Road, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.The Soul Church in Mason Road, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

And more than 200 people have offered condolences on Mr Norman’s Instagram account, including Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira and midfielder Ben Godfrey.

Comments included: “This breaks my heart. I’m so sorry to see you go through this. I’m here for you and your family are in my prayers” and “Oh my heart is broken for you Chantel! We are praying for you!!! Love you!”

Mr Norman said he and his wife appreciated the messages of support which they had received after the devastating news.

He said: “All we know at the moment is that he was in a park when a car went past and he was shot in a drive-by shooting. We are going to fly out there on Monday because we still don’t have the full detail of what happened.”

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