Community leader shot to death during attempted robbery in Midtown

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police have identified a man shot and killed Friday night outside a Midtown church.

Investigators initially said Glenn Cofield, 57, was shot to death in the parking lot of Greater Lewis Street Missionary Baptist Church on East Parkway North after an "argument," but they later said it happened during an attempted robbery.

Cofield was a beloved community leader, husband and father of three from Memphis.

Loved ones tell WREG he and his wife were getting into their car around 11 p.m. after leaving a nearby charity event to raise money for St. Jude when someone drove up, tried to rob them and shot Cofield in the head.

“From what I understand, he was just going to get in his car to go home," Christi Pugh said. “It’s just senseless.”

Pugh, who attended the event with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, says guests were told to park at the church and either walk or take a provided shuttle to and from the home where the party was being held.

"They had security," she said. "I mean, this was a top-notch event."

Pugh and her family decided to take the shuttle back to the church parking lot at the end of the night because she was wearing high heels.

“I felt completely safe," she said. "If I had different shoes on, I would have walked to my car."

Michael Gordon is a deacon at the church, and was met by detectives Saturday morning when he showed up to do some painting.

"I know this is part of town – a kind of high-crime area – but I just couldn't think of it happening here on the church lot," he said.

Gin Eichholz lives a few blocks away.

"Yea that's just, that's too close," she said. "It's scary. Very scary. Things have just gradually changed over the years, and you just don't feel as safe as you did at one time. And I hate that part, but it seems like it's that way almost everywhere."

Pugh described the Cofields as a "good family."

“I think this guy from what I understand… this guy would have given anyone the shirt off his back," she said. “It’s very sad that these people were at a fundraiser for St. Jude, and now she’s gotta bury her husband.”

Cofield was a financial advisor for Barnes Pettey, on the board of directors at Paragon Bank and a deacon at Independent Presbyterian Church.

According to the Raymond James website, he was also a past Treasurer and President of Carnival Memphis, member of the FedEx St. Jude Golf Tournament Committee of 100 and a board member of the Institute of Management Accountants.

Ed Galfsy, executive director of Carnival Memphis, said Cofield had been president of the organization in 2001 and chairman in 2002. His sons had also attended school at PDS with Cofield's children.

He said Cofield "always had a smile and a handshake for everyone," and was involved with other charitable and community organizations in the Memphis area, including JIFF, Juvenile Intervention Faith-based Fellowship.

Galfsky said he hopes something positive can come out of the tragedy, but said it was already reminding him to be more vigilant about security at events and paying attention to his surroundings.

The only description police have released of the suspect is that he was wearing a hoodie and drove off in a dark-colored car.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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