Detroit pastor won't be charged in fatal church shooting

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2015 4:14 PM

DETROIT (AP) — A pastor who fatally shot a man inside a Detroit storefront church won't face charges, prosecutors announced Friday.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office said in a news release that the pastor of City of God church on the city's northwest side "had an honest and reasonable belief" that he and others were at risk of death or harm Oct. 18, when Deante Smith rushed at him with a brick.

Authorities say the 25-year-old Smith forced his way inside the church, pushed the pastor's mother to the ground and rushed past men restraining him and toward the pastor, brandishing the brick. The pastor shot him once, then multiple times when Smith approached him again.

Authorities had not publicly identified the pastor until Friday, but said he cooperated with the investigation. The Associated Press is not naming him because he was not charged with a crime.

Prosecutors say Smith had threatened the pastor on several occasions, accusing him of having an affair with his estranged wife. Both the woman and pastor deny the accusation, officials said.

Previous incidents, prosecutors say, include Smith threatening the pastor and his wife at their Dearborn Heights home about a month before the fatal shooting. Around the same time, Smith sent the pastor numerous threatening texts.

Two days before the shooting, prosecutors say, security video recorded at an auto repair shop where the pastor works showed Smith running up to the pastor's van and shattering a window while it was moving. The pastor drove off as Smith "continued to swing at the van."

Prosecutors concluded "the pattern of threats and violent behavior" toward the pastor "support the decision not to charge" him.

"The alleged facts in this case were salacious to some because they happened in a place of worship and the person who discharged the weapon was a man of God," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. "The provable facts in this case showed that (the pastor's) actions ... were done in lawful self-defense and there will be no charges."