When a pair of people posing as panhandlers robbed and killed 54-year-old Jacquelyn Smith, Keith Smith lost his wife, his soulmate and his compassion for those who would beg for money at a street corner.
“Something needs to be done, because now you don't know whether or not you're going to give and this person is going to take your life or they're going to say 'Thank you' for it cause this girl actually said 'God, bless you', when that guy did that,” Smith told reporters following the murder.
Bishop Roger Tatuem says news of Smith's death reached her church, the Helping Hands Ministries in Churchville, the following day.
“We were actually in service and a lot of people were crying and so forth, but we have consolation from God's Word,” said Tatuem, “She lived the life of the Lord and in her demise, she's going to heaven, but she'll be greatly missed. People loved her. She was devoted to the Lord, to her husband, to her family. She was a loving person and a helping person.”
Jacquelyn Smith worked as an engineer at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and leaves behind two adult sons.
She and her husband had been married for four years and joined the church about three years ago.
Bishop Tatuem's wife, Miriam, says the manner of Smith's death strikes home as a mother who could witness another in need.
“I would stop, because in that kind of condition, that time of night, I'm thinking something has happened. Why is this lady out here with her baby? It's got to be real,” she explained.
Smith's husband has vowed to lobby in his wife's memory to protect people from aggressive panhandlers and it's a thought now shared by those who are shouldering a loss felt by all.
“We have a responsibility to take care of the poor,” said the bishop, “We have to use some wisdom, and I believe there needs to be some regulations in reference to those who are coming up to your cars on the street. I think that needs to be regulated. We're going to have to help. Not everybody is bad.”