Community raise funds to bury Christan man shot by pastor – Hannah Tooley

The grieving teammates of a Christian semi-pro American footballer who was shot dead in church are asking the public to help them raise money to bury their friend.

Deante Smith, 25, from Detroit, was fatally shot on Sunday by his church leader.

One teammate said: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we, as The Michigan Lightning family, announce the passing of one of our own, Deante Smith.

“A brother and teammate to so many of us, he left us way to soon.

“His infectious smile and the courage in which he approached life, on and off the field, are attributes that will stick with all of us.”

Mr Smith was thought to have brought a brick into the church and attempted to attack the pastor.

Deante Smith had previously posted on his Facebook page that the pastor had gotten his wife pregnant, according to The Detroit News.

The pastor and Mr Smith are thought to have had a very close relationship.

The pastor had looked after Mr Smith and his wife into his home, and reports suggest Smith considered the pastor a mentor and father figure.

It has also been reported that the pastor is cooperating with authorities and has not been arrested.

In The Voice online his football team also praised him for “his ability to reach someone who was going through a rough time.”

The team said that: “‘I got you,’ was echoed by him on many occasions, and to Tae, they weren’t just words, he wasn’t going to let you fall.

“He mentored many and his legacy will live on with them.

“It’s not fair, life rarely is, and no one knew that better than Tae. And he’d be the first one to tell you to get up, smile and do something positive today.

“Deante, we miss you, we Love you and we will carry your spirit with us.”

The teammates have set up a crowd-funding page to help raise funds for Smith’s funeral. 

We are asking for donations to not only help his family give him a peaceful and beautiful resting service but to also make sure his TRUE legacy and how much of a great and faithful person our brother was never goes forgotten.

“Thank you all. And as Tae would always scream before a play ‘Jeeeeessssssuuuussssss!!!!'”

The campaign is trying to raise $15,000 (around £10,000).


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