Police search for killer of New Jersey pastor

Pastor Donald Hughes was fatally shot Friday on a street in Newark.

April 9, 2012 4:30:26 AM PDT
Police are searching for the gunman who fatally shot a pastor on a Newark street.

Forty-seven-year-old Donald Hughes, of Newark, was killed late Friday.

"He made no noise," said his widow, Michelle Ruffin-Hughes. "He laid on the floor. I couldn't get a pulse. He wasn't breathing. I just saw a big hole in the back of his suit coat."

It's an image she can't get out of her mind.

Not only is her husband gone, but their daughter and godchildren are traumatized because they witnessed his murder.

"The girls came in screaming," she said. "She said a man hit her and told her to shut up."

Easter was the pastor's favorite time of year, and he organized a huge get-together at the family's Newark home.

As he and the kids grabbed grocery bags out of the car Friday afternoon, they were approached by a man with a gun.

"It was a robbery that went bad. One shot to the chest and he's no longer here," said Hughes's cousin, Gerald Miller.

Pastor Hughes led the Praise Tabernacle Industries in Monmouth Junction.

The church was just a year old, but already had 70 members.

"He was caring, he wasn't hard to get to," said church member Andre Thompson. "He had one on ones with all of his members. You could call him anytime."

Despite the pain of such a loss, his wife says her faith has not wavered.

"I'm not holding any malice to you." said Ruffin-Hughes. "I'm hurt. I won't see my husband. My kids won't see their dad. If you have a conscience, turn yourself in."

Police say they don't yet have a clear motive and haven't made any arrests.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. The investigation is ongoing.

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