Local News

Second Congregation Mourns a Slain Deacon

Posted October 28, 2007 7:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2007 1:18 a.m. EDT

— Members of Old Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Louisburg gathered Sunday to celebrate the life of a 74-year-old man who was shot and killed while getting his mail on Tuesday.

It was the second time in four weeks that a Triangle congregation mourned the loss of a deacon. In both cases, the deacons were killed violently, and no one is behind bars.

Richard Gus Brown was returning from church when he stopped to check his mail outside his apartment on Wallingford Drive in Raleigh. An unknown person shot and killed Brown in what Raleigh police said was a random act.

"I couldn't really comprehend that our deacon had been taken away from us in that way," deaconess Mary Broadnax said. "It will just not be the same with him not being here on Sunday mornings."

The pain members of Old Liberty feel has been shared by the congregation of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Raleigh. Charles Davis, 89, a church member for more than 50 years, was found stabbed to death in his Braggtown home on Sept. 26.

The Durham Sheriff's Office said they suspect a series of break-ins in the area was related to Davis' death, but have not made any arrests. Likewise, Raleigh police believe a rash of robberies may be linked to Brown's death, but said they have no suspects.

"My prayer to God is that they cannot rest," Broadnax said. "My prayer to God is that when they lay down at night, Deacon Brown's face is before them."

Anyone with information in Brown's death is asked to call Raleigh police at 919-890-3555 or Crime Stoppers at 919-226-CRIME.

Durham police are asking anyone with knowledge of Davis' killing or robberies in the area to call the Sheriff's Office at 919-560-0900.

Until those responsible for the murders are caught, the members of Old Liberty will pray for strength and forgiveness, senior pastor Dr. Charles Murrill said.

"God has a purpose in all, and we may not understand it now," he said. "But as my grandmother used to say, we'll understand it better by and by.

"To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord, so that's a sense of joy for us."