A youth pastor in Kansas allegedly tried to kill his wife and five children Saturday before setting their home on fire, according to local authorities.
Authorities charged Matthew Richards, a 41-year-old youth pastor at the Crossroads Christian Church in Shawnee, with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm, according to the Shawnee Police Department. The state alleged in court documents that Richards stabbed his wife and children before setting the fire, according to Fox4. (RELATED: Former Youth Pastor Nabbed In Child Porn Ring Sentenced To 60 Years: US Attorney’s Office)
UPDATE: The suspect, Matthew Lee Richards, 41, is charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm. The victims sustained laceration injuries of varying degrees. pic.twitter.com/87ThhDJehX
— Shawnee KS Police Department (@shawneeKSpolice) September 16, 2023
“The Crossroads Christian Church family is shocked, sickened, and saddened by Saturday morning’s events involving our former children’s pastor. This is a tragedy beyond what any of us could have imagined,” the church said in a statement. “We are offering support and resources to the members of the Richards family who were victimized and their extended family. The road to recovery will be long – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”
One adult woman and two children remain in the hospital receiving treatment as of Saturday, police said. A 19-year-old and two other children were released from the hospital.
Richards is being held on a five million dollar bond, and he made his first appearance in court Monday, the outlet reported. He did not enter a plea and will be appointed a public defender.