The pastor of Brentley Vinson, the black 26-year-old police officer and former Liberty University football player who shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Scott in a controversial incident that sparked widespread public protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Tuesday, defended him in a church service Sunday as a fine young man.

"This awful tragedy in our city has hit so close to home," Pastor Loran Livingston of Central Church said in a Time Warner Cable report. "The officer involved, who did his sworn duty, is a member of our church, who grew up in our church, and you will not find a finer young man. His parents are here this morning. They are my friends, and for 25 years they have been a part of this church."

The Christian Post reached out to the popular evangelical Liberty University for comment Wednesday and Len Stevens, director of external communications for the school, said: "The University has decided that it is not making any statement, releasing any photographs or anything about Mr. Vinson."

According to The News & Advance, however, Vinson, who played three years for the Liberty Flames football team, was a fierce competitor of faith who ran a popular Bible study group with his teammates called Gridiron.

"I can honestly say I wouldn't want to play ball anywhere else. And it's not just football. Spiritually, I wouldn't be where I am. I wouldn't know Christ and have a relationship with Christ like I do if I hadn't come to Liberty. It's just a testament to God's timing," said Vinson about playing for Liberty.

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