Police say Detroit Pastor Tim Kirby was gunned down after asking his neighbors to turn down their party music, but his nephew who witnessed the murder said his uncle went out because he heard someone had been stabbed and wanted to help. Meanwhile, a prayer vigil was held in his memory.
Pastor Kirby's 18-year-old nephew, Christopher Johnson, says his uncle went outside his home on July 29, the day he was shot to death, after he heard that someone had been stabbed and wanted to help, Detroit Free Press reported.
Johnson says he was with Kirby at the time, and saw several people gathered around three parked cars. "We went outside and went up to the guy and asked, 'What is going on? We heard somebody say they got stabbed.' They walked up to us and asked if we had a beef," Johnson was quoted as saying. "A guy just started shooting at my uncle."
While investigate is underway, police have not arrested anyone.
Local police have said the pastor's neighbors were hosting a big party with loud music and were screaming when he left his apartment to ask them to tone down the noise. Upset by Kirby's request, a group of men turned the encounter into a full blown confrontation and began shouting at him, and one of them shot him.
Kirby, 46, a well-known member of his community and a fiery preacher, was in the process of organizing a new church. He was a father of seven.
"It was devastating. I cried for a minute, and then it was like I couldn't cry no more," Kirby's daughter Tatiana told WDIV 4 of her father's untimely death. "He was a good father. He was always a caring person. Every Sunday we were always in church. He always made sure we had clothes, good clothes on our backs, food on the table."
On Friday, about two dozen people attended a vigil at McShane Playground on Detroit's west side in Kirby's memory.
"We cannot continue to let our blood run in the street," Rev. David Alexander Bullock, spokesman for the group Change Agent Consortium, was quoted as telling the crowd. "We cannot continue to allow loved ones to be shot down. But we also know that retaliation and violence is not the answer."
During the vigil, a man punched a young woman after a scuffle, which showed that the neighborhood was prone to violence. "That's why we're here," said Bullock. "We've got to put our arms around these neighborhoods."