This photo provided by Brad Searcy Photography shows Davy and...

This photo provided by Brad Searcy Photography shows Davy and Natalie Lloyd. Three U.S. missionaries were killed in Haiti after being ambushed at the Port-au-Prince, officials with the mission organization said Friday, May 24, 2024. Two of the victims were a young married couple, Davy and Natalie Lloyd, according to a Facebook posting from Natalie Lloyd's father, Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker. The name of the third person killed wasn't immediately available. Credit: AP/Brad Searcy Photography

The local director of a mission group in Haiti and a young missionary couple from the U.S. were attacked and fatally shot by gang members after leaving a youth group activity at a church, a family member told The Associated Press.

Thursday’s killings of Jude Montis, the local director of Missions in Haiti Inc., and Davy and Natalie Lloyd happened in the community of Lizon in northern Port-au-Prince. Natalie Lloyd is the daughter of a Republican state representative in Missouri.

Haiti's capital has been crumbling under the relentless assault of violent gangs that control 80% of the city, while authorities await the arrival of a police force from Kenya as part of a U.N.-backed deployment aimed at quelling gang violence in the troubled Caribbean country.

Here are some things to know about the missionary work, which focused on helping the children of Haiti, and the gang attack that took three lives.

WORKING IN HAITI

Missions in Haiti’s website says its goal is “to see the Gospel of Christ make a difference in the lives of Haiti’s young people.”

Davy Lloyd's parents, David and Alicia Lloyd, of Oklahoma, started the organization in 2000 with the aim of focusing on the children of Haiti. David and Alicia Lloyd are full-time missionaries in the country.

A pedestrian walks past the body of a man lying...

A pedestrian walks past the body of a man lying on the side of an empty street in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, May 24, 2024. Credit: AP/Odelyn Joseph

“Although the entire nation is steeped in poverty, the children suffer the worst,” they wrote on the website. “Thousands are malnourished, uneducated, and headed for hopeless lives apart from Christ.”

Hannah Cornett, Davy’s sister, told AP that they grew up in Haiti. Davy went to the U.S. to attend a Bible college and married Natalie in June 2022. After the wedding, the couple wasted little time moving to Haiti to do humanitarian work.

Cornett said Montis, a Haitian, worked at Missions in Haiti for 20 years.

The organization's efforts include House of Compassion, which provides housing for 36 children — 18 boys and 18 girls, the website says. “All are destined to stay at House of Compassion until they have finished school and are ready to be on their own.”

A bus passes by a police officer on patrol near...

A bus passes by a police officer on patrol near the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, May 24, 2024. Credit: AP/Odelyn Joseph

Good Hope Boys’ Home provides a home for 22 boys, according to the website. The organization also built a church, a bakery and a school with more than 240 students.

THE ATTACK

A Facebook posting on the Missions in Haiti page stated that Davy Lloyd, 23, and Natalie Lloyd, 21, along with some children, were leaving a church when gang members in three trucks ambushed them.

Davy Lloyd later called his family to tell them that gang members hit him on the head with the barrel of a gun, forced him upstairs, stole their belongings and left him tied up, Cornett said.

As people were helping untie Davy Lloyd, another group of armed gunmen showed up, Cornett said.

“No one understood what they were doing, not sure what took place but one was shot and killed and now this gang went into full attack mode,” Missions in Haiti's posting said.

The couple and Montis fled to a house connected to the mission.

“They tried to take cover in there, but the gang shot up the house,” Cornett said.

Ben Baker, Natalie Lloyd's father and a state representative in Missouri, said Friday on Facebook that the couple's bodies were safely transported to the U.S. Embassy.

Cassidy Anderson, a spokesperson for the family, said in a later Facebook post on Baker's page that they were working to retrieve the bodies.

“We have to obtain a waiver that will allow their bodies to be transported without being fully embalmed due to the lack of facilities that provide that service in Haiti,” the post said. "After that, we have to find an airline that will be willing to do the transport. Prayers that this will all go smoothly.”

GRIEVING FAMILIES

Cornett said Montis left behind two children, ages 2 and 6.

Montis’ family could not be reached for comment Friday, and Missions in Haiti did not respond to an AP request for comment.

Missions in Haiti said in a Facebook post Saturday that they were “facing the most difficult time of our life.”

“The embassy is working on getting all the paper work done in order for them to be flown to the states and many more behind the scenes to make happen more quickly and safely,” the post said, adding that the children and staff of Missions in Haiti have been relocated to a safer location.

Baker wrote on Facebook that his heart was broken “in a thousand pieces.”

“I’ve never felt this kind of pain,” he said. “Most of you know my daughter and son-in-law Davy and Natalie Lloyd are full time missionaries in Haiti. They were attacked by gangs this evening and were both killed. They went to Heaven together. Please pray for my family we desperately need strength. And please pray for the Lloyd family as well. I have no other words for now.”

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