Triple-murder suspect captured in Florida as Baptist church mourns

BRADENTON, Fla. (BNG, TAB) — An estimated 350 people attended worship Dec. 7 at Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton, Fla., to pay respects to 31-year-old Pastor Tripp Battle, who died at the church Dec. 4 in what police believe is a triple homicide. Also on Sunday morning, murder suspect Andy Avalos Jr., appeared in court for the first time. Avalos, 33, was captured without incident Saturday afternoon at a trailer park not far from the church. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and confined to Manatee County Jail without bond. Authorities didn’t say where Andy Avalos was during a 51-hour manhunt, or why he finally decided to turn himself in. His father, Andy Avalos Sr., missions pastor at Woodland Baptist Church, Bradenton, Fla., publicly pleaded for his son to come out of hiding hours before, saying, “For (your five childrens’) sake, son, I am pleading with you to please turn yourself in.” The suspect’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 9.

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State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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