Romano Lee Campbell Sr., the father of four children, was found shot to death at his home on Gartman Lane, a short street in a neighborhood south of Lott Road in Eight Mile, Prichard Police Chief Jimmie Gardner said.
No arrests had been made as of Thursday night.
Campbell was the son of Patricia Campbell Zine, a police chaplain for Prichard.
Zine said that one of her granddaughters alerted her to the fire about 3:30 p.m. at her home in the 1000 block of State Street, just west of downtown Mobile.
Mobile Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Steve Huffman said the fire was caused by overloaded electrical cords that had clothes piled on top.
While the fire did not inflict a lot of damage to the outer structure of the home, it had extensive interior damage.
Everyone in the house escaped unharmed.
Zine said she was outside when a call came to her from a relative telling her that "something was wrong with Ray-Ray," the family nickname for Campbell.
She said that she and other relatives then went to Gartman Lane and got the news of Campbell’s death.
Zine said her son was married and had three sons, ages 10, 8 and 2, and a 3-year-old daughter. None of the children were home when Campbell’s body was discovered, she said. Gardner said that Campbell had been shot multiple times. He was found just outside the home, with the trunk of his vehicle still open and the house keys still in the door, Gardner said.
Zine said her son worked for Superior Oil Co., spending two weeks offshore and two weeks on land as a regular work routine.
She said he served seven years in the U.S. Army and experienced two tours of duty in Iraq, during which he survived improvised explosive device attacks.
He also served tours in Germany and Korea, she said.
Relatives recalled Campbell’s athletic skills as a youth at Chastang Middle School and Vigor High School, where he ran track and played football.
Campbell was on the 1998 Vigor football team coached by James Perine that made it to the state 6A championship game before losing the title to Vestavia Hills.
The Prichard police chaplain corps consists of 10 ministers from across the Mobile area, and all are volunteers, according to spokeswoman Pastor Lillie Mancarella.
Gardner founded the Prichard police chaplains’ corps in May. Zine said she operates a radio ministry on WMOB-AM on Sunday mornings.
"The chaplains are going to help and support them through their time of need," Mancarella said. She added that plans are being made to set up an aid fund to help Campbell’s children as well as Zine.
Meanwhile, the family said that a memorial will take place at 7p.m. Friday at Bethesdela Church across from Vigor High School on North Wilson Avenue in Prichard.
Anyone with information that can help solve the slaying of Campbell was asked to call Prichard police at 251-452-2211.