US

Pastor and Wife Fatally Shoot Man Who Broke Into Their House

By Zachary Stieber

A pastor and his wife shot a man who was breaking into their house in Texas.

The shooting took place in Houston late Saturday, May 4.

The Houston Police Department said that the couple heard something outside of their back door and went to see what was making the noise. They saw the suspect breaking into their house.

Both the pastor, Jeff Powers, and his wife fired their guns in fear for their safety, police told KTRK.

“He did gain entry into the residence by breaking in. At that point, they discharged their weapons several times at him and struck him,” a homicide detective at the scene told the station.

The suspect, who was armed, died at the house. After the shooting, the couple went outside, placed their firearms on the ground, and waited for officers to arrive.

One day after the shooting, Powers gave his last sermon as pastor for Westminster United Methodist Church before turning the church over to a new pastor, Shannon Martin, a spokeswoman for the United Methodist Church in Texas, told ABC News on Monday. It wasn’t clear if he mentioned the shooting.

Martin said that Powers was moving to a new church and said it was customary for pastors to do so within United Methodist.

In a statement to ABC, the United Methodist Church said Powers and his wife are “mourning the loss of life and cooperating fully with authorities.” The church did not issue the statement on its website or social media pages.

The case will go before a grand jury, which will decide whether charges will be filed against Powers and his wife. Police told KPRC that officers were reviewing surveillance cameras in the area to see if any captured the shooting.

Crime Statistics

Crime declined in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017, the FBI said in February. Preliminary statistics show nearly all offenses in the violent crime category declined. Robbery offenses decreased 12.5 percent, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses decreased 6.7 percent, and aggravated assault offenses declined 2 percent, the agency said. Rapes, however, increased by 0.6 percent.

When comparing data from the first six months of 2018 with the first six months of 2017, all property crime categories showed a decrease. Burglaries were down 12.7 percent, larceny-thefts decreased 6.3 percent, and motor vehicle thefts declined 3.3 percent. The full 2018 crime report will be released later this year.

The FBI previously said that both violent crime and property crime decreased in 2017, the last year that full statistics are available for, compared to 2016. Overall violent crime decreased 0.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, while property crime decreased 3 percent during that time, the agency said in September 2018, releasing data from the previous year.

FBI
American flags fly outside the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington on Jan. 22, 2019. ( Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“There were more than 1.2 million violent crimes reported to UCR nationwide in 2017. There was a 0.7 percent decrease in murders and a 4 percent decrease in robberies from 2016 to 2017. Aggravated assaults increased by 1 percent in 2017. The FBI began collecting data solely on an updated rape definition last year, and 135,755 rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2017,” the FBI stated.

“The report also showed there were more than 7.7 million property crimes last year. Burglaries decreased 7.6 percent and larceny-thefts decreased by 2.2 percent. Motor vehicle thefts increased by 0.8 percent from 2016 to 2017.”

The figures were compiled from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies around the United States that submitted their crime data to the FBI.