PORTLAND (AP) – A Portland church is ministering to two grieving families linked by this month’s fatal police shooting of a motorist who was driving without a license.

A funeral service was planned at the Seventh-day Adventist Church for Albert Kittrell, a convicted felon who began attending the church a few months ago. He told his family he was determined to quit drinking and get his life on track.

The 48-year-old Kittrell was shot and killed by Portland police officer Nicholas Goodman. Police said he fired his weapon after Kittrell tried to drive off during a traffic stop, dragging Goodman and another officer with him.

After the shooting, it came to light that Goodman’s father, church elder Ed Goodman, was among the first to befriend Kittrell when he moved to Maine from Alabama in the early 1990s, according to the Maine Sunday Telegram. Kittrell had, through the church, recently reconnected with the elder Goodman.

The church pastor, Greg Carter, said the odd set of circumstances has been hard for some in the church, where about 130 people attend weekly services.

“I am trying to minister to both families. It is just one of those difficult things,” he said. “We’re just trying to encourage everybody to pray.”

Ed Goodman was among the first to befriend Kittrell when he moved to Maine and began attending the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Freeport.

As the years passed, Kittrell fell out of the church as he fought losing battles with drugs and alcohol and ran into trouble with the police, serving time in 2000 for assaulting an officer.

But Kittrell a few months ago told family members he was determined to get sober, and he started going to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland.

There he reconnected with Goodman, whose family also attends services at the small church on Allen Avenue. Goodman declined comment to the newspaper.

Mark Finks, a member of the church council and a director at Pine Tree Academy, a Freeport Christian school where Goodman teaches, said the church will be “profoundly supportive” of both families. Finks did not know Kittrell.

“Sometimes, tragedies are just overwhelming and stupefying, and you ask, what good can come of this?” Finks said.

But those who have been baptized in the Seventh-day Adventist Church believe that God delivers amazing things from such events, he said.

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