A veteran Texas pastor was shot in the head with his own gun by a burglar as he begged for his life in his home in a tragic Fourth of July attack. His family believes he tried counseling his alleged killer before his death.
Pastor Donald Frazier, 69, has been preaching and counseling inmates in jails and prisons for more than 40 years and neighbors in his secure Deerfield Village community in Harris County described him as the "nicest guy" with a heart of gold.
In a brazen and cold-blooded attack in the wee hours of last Friday morning, suspected burglar Daniel Durham, 30, confessed to deputies at the Harris County Sheriff's Office that he shot the beloved pastor in the head as he begged for his life on the floor of his home, according to KHOU.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Durham attempted to disarm the pastor's home security system at about 1 a.m. last Friday, but triggered a gas generator in the garage instead, which woke the pastor and his wife.
Police say the pastor armed himself with his gun and went to the garage where he found Durham, who managed to disarm him in a scuffle, and subsequently killed Frazier on the patio outside his garage.
A News 92FM report says Frazier's wife called 911 and gave police a description of the suspect, who was later caught by a neighborhood security guard in blood-stained clothing.
The upper middle-income neighborhood, which is patrolled by the SEAL private security firm, according to the neighborhood website, has been left in shock because Durham was stopped by a neighborhood watch volunteers approximately one hour before the pastor was killed.
"He [Daniel] told them that his mother lives in the subdivision and that he was visiting and just going for a walk," said HCSO Sgt. Ben Beall. "They didn't have any reason to detain him, so they just let him go."
When the shot went off, neighbors, who are not accustomed to guns going off in their neighborhood, thought it was fireworks from the holiday.
"We didn't think much of it — being the fourth of July," neighbor Rick Soto told KHOU. "We just thought it was fireworks, but it sounded something different after that. We didn't hear any commotion or anything. It's sad to hear. He's real friendly — waves to me. I believe he was true to his faith, had a good religion, was good in the community. They were a really nice couple."
Pastor Frazier's grieving family and friends remembered him as a man of faith whom they believe was perhaps trying to counsel Durham before he was killed.
"He was probably out there trying to convince the perpetrator that he really did not want to do what he's doing," Jason Frazier, one of the deceased pastor's two adult sons, told the Houston Chronicle.
He was noted as a prayerful counselor who worked to help Christian couples heal after infidelity.
"He had led congregations, started Gospel-based radio and television shows, founded hospital and police chaplaincies and, in his spare time, worked as a professional photographer. He was an honorary member of the Katy Police Officers Association," noted the Chronicle.
"He was just very loving and generous and just never in a million years would I imagine something like this would happen," said Jason Frazier.