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Miami Congregation Mourns Pastor Fatally Stabbed by Church Musician He Had Been Helping

04-12-2024
Photo Courtesy: Westview Baptist Church via Facebook
Photo Courtesy: Westview Baptist Church via Facebook

A South Florida faith community is left devastated after their lead pastor was stabbed to death by a homeless man he allowed to shelter at the church building. 

Police arrested 44-year-old James Dawkins in connection with the murder of Antwane Lenoir, 41 – an armed security guard and a pastor at Westview Baptist Church in Miami, FL.

Dawkins, the church's musician, reportedly stayed at the church building with Lenoir's permission.

But Lenoir had called a locksmith to change the locks at the church. A verbal disagreement began between Dawkins and Lenoir and quickly grew heated. 

According to police, without provocation, Dawkins stabbed Lenoir in the neck multiple times before running off. 

When Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived they found Lenoir's body in the church parking lot and pronounced him dead on arrival.

The following day, police found Dawkins and took him into custody. 

According to authorities, he offered "self-serving" testimony and "was determined not to be consistent with the evidence obtained throughout the course of the investigation."

Dawkins now faces one count of first-degree murder.

Meanwhile, those who knew Lenoir are mourning his death. 

"He was a very nice man, and he would give you the shirt off his back," his cousin, Yovonka Bryant, told WSVN. "He was so generous and so kind to a lot of people."

"It's just going to be a major loss for this community," said Darryl Tomas, a close friend of Lenoir. "Well loved, well-liked, always out doing the best that he can possibly do for his family, for his community."

Gaston E. Smith, the pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Miami, told local station ABC 10 that Lenoir was like a brother to him and the incident is "beyond explanation."

"Something must have taken place, mentally, to make this happen," said Smith. "We have lost a dynamic pastor, a dynamic leader, an amazing father (and a) amazing community activist. He was that guy."

Lenoir leaves behind his wife and four children. 

"I can't even imagine his wife of 20 years. I can't imagine these four lovely children who all loved their dad beyond life," said Smith. "This congregation loved their pastor."

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