Editor's note: "Black News" would like to welcome back its writers who for the past 6-months have been under death threats by officials in Chattanooga over freedom of speech issues.

Local Pastor’s Dark Side Could Be Reason For His Murder

By Noble Johns

By day he was a respected member of the local clergy in Chattanooga, but by night he prowled the mean streets of the innercity looking for trills in the night. Rev. David Strong's (pastor at St. Paul AME Church) indiscretions with young Black thugs may have done him in.

Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Tim Carroll said “This was one of the most brutal” crimes of the year happened after Strong refused to reveal the PIN for his debit card during a routine robbery, but Lt. Kirk Eidson said authorities are investigating “other possible motivating factors.”

“The possibility existed that Rev. Strong was gay,” said Eidson, head of the Chattanooga Police Department’s major crimes division. “We’re exploring that. We are currently investigating as to any type of motivating factor of that nature. ... Even if that would be the case, they planned a robbery, and they still killed him.”

Antonio Henry, 25, and his 16-year-old cousin, Brendan Barnes are criminals with gang-ties in Chattanooga, and the relationship between Henry and the Rev. Strong seem mismatched, but Rev. Strong was known to live the gay life style.

“You know that the Bishop Eddie Long was a frequent visitor of pastor Strong,” a local source said on the condition of anonymity. “I would see him all the time riding around the hood in his Cadillac looking for young boys. He would even buy crack for them just to get some action, and sometimes go back to the church and have sex and get high with the boys.”

The talk on the street is that the reason he was murdered was because he refused to buy crack for Antonio Henry and his 16-year-old cousin, Brendan Barnes. Henry is nuts! Medical records show he had a history of schizophrenia, depression and emotional and personality disorders. So the question is why was Strong dealing with such a nut if it were not for something criminal?

Police at the scene said they beat, stabbed and strangled the Rev. Strong before hitting him over the head with a vase and cutting his throat. Henry criminal history is ultra violent. In 2003, he received probation after he was found guilty of domestic assault for pulling the braids out of his girlfriend’s scalp during an argument, and he escaped from the Silverdale Detention Center in 2004 records show.

According to reports from the "Tennesseean" Strong had previously worked in Nashville. He had been a pastor at both Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church on Elm Hill Pike and then at St. Matthew A.M.E, according to Clement Fugh, the General Secretary and Chief Informational Officer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church worldwide office that is based in Nashville.

Fugh estimated dates Strong was in Nashville was in the late 1980s or early '90s at Ebenezer and later in the '90s at St. Matthews A.M.E.

“He was very dedicated to his work and the members,’’ Fugh said. “He was fun loving and outgoing. He sang and could lift a worship service. He was very inspirational and very well-known.’’

Strong had been invited back to St. Matthew for the past five years for revival services by the church’s present pastor, Rev. Reginald Brock.

“Because he was such a popular pastor,’’ Brock said. “He was a very likeable person.’’

Brock last saw Strong at a funeral in Nashville about a month ago.

Strong had been the pastor of St. Paul AME in Chattanooga for over a decade, according to the Associated Press.

He has been a pastor in Kentucky as well. Strong was raised in Memphis, where most of his family ties are.

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