According to a Fox News report on Monday, September 18, a Kansas youth pastor has been accused of attempting to kill his wife and five children before trying to set their Shawnee home on fire, according to police.
41-year-old Matthew Richards, a pastor at Crossroads Christian Church, was charged with five counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder
His wife and all five of their children, including a 19-year-old and four minors, sustained varying degrees of laceration injuries.
Police and firefighters responded to reports of a disturbance and fire at the pastor’s residence around 3:47 AM. Upon arrival, firefighters located and quickly extinguished a blaze in the home’s basement.
Richards, his wife, and all five children were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.
An investigation revealed that Richards had allegedly attempted to kill his entire family with a knife before starting the fire. His motives remain unclear.
Richards had worked as a children’s pastor at Crossroads Christian Church.
His biography on the church website described him as a “big kid who loves teaching little kids about Jesus.”
It also mentioned he was happily married since 2003 and had 4 boys and 1 girl.
The senior pastor at Crossroads Church, Kurt Witten, released a statement acknowledging they were aware of the situation involving their children’s pastor.
He said they were gathering more information and would provide a full statement later.
Witten asked the public to be respectful as it was an ongoing investigation and to pray for the Richards family.
Police have not speculated on a possible motive for Richards’ disturbing actions.
However, such cases often involve severe mental illness or breakdowns that cause a once stable person to suddenly become violent.
For a religious leader and youth pastor to be implicated in the attempted murder of his own wife and children has shocked the community.
It seems incomprehensible that a man dedicated to teaching youth about Christianity could commit such heinous acts of violence in his own home.
While more facts are still emerging, the case raises questions about how well we can truly know someone and what darkness may lie beneath the surface.
Outward appearances and even sterling reputations do not always reflect reality or give hints about a potential for domestic violence.
The investigation and legal proceedings will hopefully shed light on what caused this beloved pastor to completely unravel and forever destroy his family.
Mental health resources and counseling will certainly be needed for all involved as they process this trauma.
For now, the community can only wait for answers and pray for the victims as they recover from unimaginable physical and emotional wounds.
The road ahead for the Richards family remains long and difficult.