Prominent Detroit Minister and Grammy Award-winning singer the Rev. Marvin Winans has expressed disappointment after being beaten and robbed by several young men this week, saying young people, if not raised right, will have no sense of honor and respect.
Winans, pastor of Perfecting Church and the minister who delivered Whitney Houston's eulogy in February, was assaulted around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when he pulled into a CITGO gas station to refuel his SUV. The minister, whose siblings include BeBe and CeCe Winans, told police he noticed 10 young men in the station as he entered.
"I was putting my gas in the tank and turned around to face them," the minister reportedly said Thursday, according to the Root DC. He was soon engaged in casual conversation with three or four young men and became distracted when one of them said his gas was overflowing.
"When I looked down, one stepped in and hit me from behind. They pulled me on the ground, and they were kicking me and kicking me. Someone grabbed the car and went. I remember throwing a punch and missing," the minister reportedly said.
Winans' black SUV was recovered on Thursday and two suspects have been arrested. However, it was not immediately clear what became of the minister's stolen $15,000 Rolex watch, iPhone, briefcase and wallet containing $200.
The minister, who grew up in Detroit, said he has never encountered anything like the assault he endured Wednesday. Investigators have reportedly said they do no believe the young men were aware of Winans' identity when they targeted him.
The 54-year-old pastor escaped without any serious injury, but was driven by a friend to a local hospital where he was treated for a fractured finger and bruising.
More than anything, the Grammy Award-winning pastor says he is wounded by the nature of the crime. In addition, the two males currently in custody were reportedly 17 and 20 years old. According to police inspector Nick Kyriacou, the roughly 10 men Winans saw when he pulled into the gas station were no older than 20.
"I feel saddened because those are my brothers, those are my nephews. I am trying to figure out how as people we have deteriorated to a place where we feel it's okay . . . to take a car from someone, not to go to work to purchase a car, but to take your car," Winans reportedly said.
"If they would have asked me for the money, I would have given it to them," he said later in a statement, according to The Detroit News. "Our young people have to find their purpose in life. It has to be bigger than sitting in a gas station waiting to rob innocent people. We've got to do a better job raising our young men."
The minister, who was also flabbergasted that someone could be assaulted and robbed in the middle of the day in public without drawing any intervention, suggested that a lack of fathers in homes may be contributing to young people having little regard for right and wrong.
He reportedly called on fathers to "assume responsibility for their sons. If we don't raise our children, the streets will. And if the streets raise them, they have no moral center. They have no sense of honor and respect."
Winans' most recent single, "Let the Church Say Amen," was recorded with Andrea Crouch and sits at No. 1 on Billboard's Gospel Songs chart. His Perfecting Church is home to about 3,000 members.