A 37-year-old Detroit pastor shot and killed a 25-year-old man, Deante Smith semi-pro player for Michigan Lightning, armed with a brick during church service on Sunday (Oct. 18). The younger man reportedly threatened churchgoers at City of God Ministry on the city’s west side while wielding the brick, when the pastor pulled out a gun and shot him multiples times. According to Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt, Smith and the pastor had a storied past.
“The pastor had had issues with the man before,” he added. “He had been threatening him to do bodily harm. He walked into the service and went after the pastor with a brick. The pastor pulled out his Glock and fired several shots. I think he hit him four or five times, and the man died.”
Authorities also report that Smith and the pastor have a close history and that Smith was well-known by the congregation. The pastor took Smith and his wife into his home, and Smith considered the pastor a mentor and father figure, according to The Detroit News. Several Facebook posts by Smith before he arrived at the church on the day he died indicate that he recently found out that his wife was carrying the pastor’s child. On Sept. 15, Smith reportedly wrote, “That wasn’t my baby that was (his wife) and pastor(’s) baby.” Later, he wrote: “This (expletive) got my (expletive) pregnant. Tick tock (expletive) and everybody with you.”
Smith’s sister, Deja Ward, said her brother was attempting to get closure before going to counseling with his wife, whom he wed in 2012. The pastor has not been charged in the shooting; following an investigation, police will submit their findings to the prosecutor’s office for a decision to be made about whether the pastor’s shooting was justified.
The Michigan Lightning team released a statement on its Facebook page.
“His infectious smile and the courage in which he approached life, on and off the field, are attributes that will stick with all of us,” the team said.