Friends in disbelief over community leader shot & killed in South Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Friends and family are mourning the tragic death of a beloved community leader who was shot and killed in South Nashville early Saturday morning.

49-year-old Phillip Hawkins Jr. was found shot to death in the passenger seat of a white sedan outside of his home on Scotwood Drive at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

“I couldn’t believe it, it was like a dream to me like it wasn’t real,” said Bishop Marcus Campbell, the lead pastor at the Church of Mt. Carmel in North Nashville. “Just to hear that my colleague’s life was gone from senseless gun violence that we have both fought against for years.”

A woman called 9-1-1 to report the shooting, according to Metro police. She told officers she had been driving Hawkins around Nashville to help him find his truck. The woman says Hawkins grew more and more agitated, they got into a physical fight and struggled over the gun. Hawkins was shot in the chest. Metro police are investigating the self-defense claim.

Bishop Campbell and family members say something about the situation “doesn’t add up.” He said the woman had attended one of their “stop the violence” marches.

Just like Bishop Campbell, Hawkins mentored young men and fathers. His organization, “Dads Against Destruction,” supported incarcerated men and helped them reconnect with their children.

“We’d sit around and talk all about the issues that we had in our communities,” Bishop Campbell said. “My biggest fear is that something like that would happen to me that after all these years fighting against violence, some violence would happen and I just really hate that for Phil.”

Bishop Campbell is helping the Hawkins family plan services and will find other ways to honor his legacy.

“He really fought hard and his saying was no gas, no brakes. I’m going hard for my community, so we will still do that for Phil,” Bishop Campbell said. “I’m praying that they get to the bottom of it, that justice will be served and that his family would be at peace knowing what really truly happened.”

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