Less than 48 hours after their beloved pastor was shot dead in a road rage incident in Houston, Texas, members of East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church were trying to wrap their grief in praise at church on Sunday.
At a memorial set up at the site where the Rev. Ronald K. Mouton died, current and former members of the church let their tears flow freely.
"He was such a wonderful man," Sonja Gilmore-King told ABC 13. "He was a man of God. He loved family, his church, and this community. I had to come over to see, was it true? I couldn't believe a man of God who loves so hard was taken away from us. We can't believe it because this man would give you anything, the shirt off his back literally, and for this to happen to him, none of us could believe it."
The Houston Police Department said in a press release that Mouton, 58, who leaves behind his wife, four children and 10 grandchildren, crashed shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday on 6400 Gulf Freeway near Gould Street along the southbound lanes of the Gulf Freeway.
Eyewitnesses said the pastor was driving a white car when he was shot by another driver in a black sedan in what appears to be a case of road rage.
“According to witnesses, it is believed the victim was involved in a road rage incident with an unknown suspect driving a black sedan. At this time, there is no known suspect description,” the HPD release said.
A $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect is being offered and anyone who can help is being asked to call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or speak anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Wendell Hutchins II, the founding pastor of the Church of Champions in Houston, called Mouton “a brilliant man who demonstrated his love for his people on a daily basis.”
“I mourn the loss of a great man that was such a fixture of faithfulness in our Houston communities. Our prayers are lifting the Mouton family in their hour of grief,” he wrote on Facebook Sunday. “We’re also praying for the entire East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church family as they mourn the sudden loss of their pastor.”
Surveillance video captured by Pusch and Nguyen Injury Lawyers shows Mouton's car crash following the shooting, ABC 13 reported. In the video, the pastor’s car can be seen out of control, almost hitting a pedestrian, then striking a telephone pole.
Family members who have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time are also urging anyone with information that can help the police to come forward. Investigators believe that more people might have witnessed the killing because of the time and place of the incident.
“He was not just a great man inside the church, but outside the church walls," Bishop James Dixon, a close friend of Mouton’s, told ABC 13. "He was a family man, a loving husband, and father, and just a great human being, raised by a great father and mother."