Detroit Pastor Kills Friend Who Attacks Him in Church after Accused of Affair with Man’s Wife


Detroit Pastor Kills Friend Who Attacks Him in Church after Accused of Affair with Man’s Wife

A Detroit pastor who shot and killed a man after he attempted to attack him with a brick in the vestibule of his church was released from custody Monday morning.

Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt confirmed that police are investigating allegations that the pastor was having an affair with the victim’s wife.

“We’ve heard several allegations and are looking into that, but haven’t substantiated anything,” Dolunt said.

Police identified the victim as 26-year-old Deante Smith of Detroit.

Detroit Police Officer Shanell Williams said the pastor has been released after being detained and questioned by investigators. No further details were available.

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, said they have not received a warrant request yet from Detroit Police.

Detrese Abbot, Smith’s cousin, said her family is devastated.

“It’s unbelievable,” Abbot said in an interview with the Free Press. “They’re painting him to be a monster, but he wasn’t. They knew each other very well. This is not just a strange man that walked in looking to harm someone. … We’re just trying to figure this whole thing out.”

The shooting happened around 1:45 p.m., shortly after a 1:30 p.m. service got under way at the City of God storefront church on Grand River Avenue near Lahser. Smith never actually made it into the church, but went after the pastor in the vestibule, Dolunt said.

Dolunt said the pastor and Smith knew each other and had “some type of problem before.”

The pastor shot Smith multiple times, including in the chest, with a semiautomatic pistol. The man died later at Botsford Hospital.

According to Dolunt, a previous police report had been filed against Smith involving threats. Investigators are continuing to piece together what happened and interview church members.

“It’s tragic,” Dolunt said, noting that church violence is not new to Detroit or anywhere else.

Abbot said Smith had been a member of the church for the past four years and had been close to the pastor before their friendship soured.

“The pastor took him under his wing, he was his mentor,” she said. “He was someone my cousin looked up to as a father figure. … So much happened that led up to this. I just don’t understand none of this. …They had a relationship and bond that couldn’t be broken. For this to end like this and for them to paint him as a crazy and deranged person, he didn’t want this to come to this.”

SOURCE: Katrease Stafford and Tresa Baldas
Detroit Free Press