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Pastor Darrin Patrick’s death ruled a suicide

Pastor Darrin Patrick’s death ruled a suicide

Pastor Darrin Patrick | Courtesy of Seacoast Church

Pastor Darrin Patrick, a teaching pastor at the South Carolina-based Seacoast Church, died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to an autopsy report.

Patrick, who founded The Journey megachurch in Missouri and served as a teaching pastor at the multi-site Seacoast megachurch, died on May 7 while target shooting with a friend just outside of St. Louis.

According to Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the autopsy report released Thursday indicates that a bullet fired from a rifle at close range under the chin was the cause of death, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Sheriff Steven Pelton was quoted as saying that police would now “be closing the case.”

In a message to the Seacoast Church membership on Thursday, Pastors Greg and Josh Surratt said:

"Today, we learned that the medical examiner reviewing the circumstances of Darrin’s death released his findings and has ruled Darrin’s death a suicide. We are devastated by this news. We do not know, and may not ever know or fully understand the reasons behind this tragedy. We are reminded that we are often unaware of the ways that those close to us are hurting and struggling. We will recommit ourselves to loving those around us and making sure that they truly know how precious their lives are. We urge anyone who is struggling with depression, despair, or suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. We have resources available for anyone who needs them, as well as more information about Darrin and ways to support his family, at seacoast.org/darrinpatrick."

Greg Surratt, founder of Seacoast Church, first announced Patrick’s death in a written message to the congregation on May 8. “We mourn, but with the hope of the resurrection firm in our hearts we know that death is not the end. So many of us are suffering in this time and we want you to know that you are not alone.”

He added, “Grief and shock may feel overwhelming in these moments, but we know that by God’s grace, sorrow does not have to overcome us. Through tears, we celebrate Darrin’s life, the legacy he leaves behind and his promotion into Heaven.”

In an emailed statement to The Christian Post on May 9, a representative from the church said no foul play was suspected. However, it was not known at the time whether the self-inflicted gunshot wound was “intentional or unintentional.” 

After his death, Patrick’s wife Amie said her husband “was the rock of our family, the great love of my life, and a fiercely devoted father to our amazing children.”

“He was a dynamic force of nature, deeply passionate and so, so fun. Mostly though, he loved God and people in ways that will challenge me for the rest of my days. And he loved me so well... I learned so much about how God loves me through the ways that my husband saw me, knew me, and cared for me. We will be a mess for a good while, but we will be ok. We grieve deeply with unwavering hope that this world is not the end and that we will see our Darrin again," she added.

In 2016, Patrick was fired from his position as pastor at The Journey for what his church described as “deep historical patterns of sin.” Patrick also resigned from his position as vice president of the Acts 29 Network, which plants churches globally.

The elders at The Journey said at the time that Patrick was involved in some sins but not adultery. He violated “the high standard for elders in marriage through inappropriate meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women,” they said.

Patrick said he was devastated by his sins and apologized to the church.

“I am utterly horrified by the depth of my sin and devastated by the terrible effects of it on myself, my family and so many others, including all of you. I am so deeply and terribly sorry for the pain that my sin is causing you, as well as the broken trust that my sin has clearly produced. In short, I am a completely devastated man, utterly broken by my sin and in need of deep healing,” he said.

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