Youth pastor arrested for attempting to murder five children

SHAWNEE, KS – Matthew Richards, a 41-year-old youth pastor from Shawnee, Kansas, is under arrest after allegedly attempting to murder his wife and five children, and subsequently trying to set their home on fire. The incident unfolded on September 16, according to local law enforcement.

Richards is facing five counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm. His family, including his wife and five children, one adult and four minors, sustained laceration injuries of varying degrees, as stated in a press release from the Shawnee Police Department.

On the morning of the incident, at 3:47 a.m., local police and firefighters responded to a disturbance and fire report at the Richards’ home. They found a fire in the basement of the house on Goode Drive, which they managed to put out swiftly. All family members, including Richards, were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

Richards, who is described on the Crossroads Christian Church website as a pastor with a passion for teaching children about Jesus, has been married to his wife Stephanie since 2003. They are parents to four boys and one girl and have been active members of the Crossroads community since August 2016.

Following the incident, a statement was issued by Crossroads Church Senior Pastor Kurt Witten on September 16. He acknowledged the situation involving their Children’s Pastor, Matt Richards, and asked for respect towards the ongoing investigation while requesting prayers for the Richards family. The investigation into the attempted murders continues. Richards is currently detained on a $5 million bond.