Family of Memphis pastor robbed & shot to death after Halloween, seeks answers

by Vanessa Rodriguez, |
Don Smith, second from the left, 30 year pastor of Prospect Park Baptist Church in Memphis Tenn., was found shot to death in a pond Nov. 1. He was robbed and his car is still missing. He was last seen on Halloween, Oct. 31, according to family members. | FACEBOOK/Prospect Park Baptist Church

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Christian Examiner)-- Nearly a week after Don Smith, the pastor of Prospect Park Missionary Baptist Church in the Whitehaven area of Memphis, Tenn. was found dead, his family continues to seek information about what happened to him.

Smith's body was found shot to death near a pond Saturday morning, Nov. 1 by two men walking their dogs.

The local FOX affiliate reported that Memphis police are searching for the 57-year-old's white, 2010 Buick Lacrosse they believe was stolen from him the night of his murder. Family said Smith's wallet was also missing and they believe he was likely robbed.

"The only thing I can see is my daddy trying to help someone in the middle of the night, which is something he would do," Whitney Smith, the pastor's daughter, told FOX 13 "He was that kind of person – so helpful he seems naive sometimes, because he helped everybody... even when they shouldn't be helped."

Friends and family said the pastor, who led the church for nearly 30 years, was known in the community for his generous and compassionate nature.

"We definitely think it was a robbery," said family member Brendan Jones. "Somebody had to have mugged him, had to have because everybody loved him."

Depsite the tragedy, the pastor's gracious character lives on through his loved ones display of mercy. "As a family we're already forgiving this person, but we want justice served," family member Raymond Jones said.

Smith was last seen in high spirits on Halloween night. His absence seemed suspect when he did not appear at a scheduled church event the next day. The pastor's wake will be held on Friday, Nov. 7 between 4 and 7 p.m. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m. at the Golden Gate Cathedral.

Anyone with information on the homicide or the pastor's car is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH or the Memphis Police Homicide office at 901-636-3300.