SHAWNEE, Kan. — A children’s pastor has been charged in a Shawnee house fire that injured seven people Saturday morning.
41-year-old suspect, Matthew Lee Richards, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm.
The victims had laceration injuries of varying degrees. One adult woman and two juveniles remain at the hospital and are receiving treatment.
According to court documents, the state alleges Richards also planned, attempted and failed to stab his wife and four of his children with a knife before setting the house on fire.
A 19-year-old and two other juveniles have been released from the hospital. Richards has been identified as the husband and father of the victims.
Richards is a children’s pastor at a Johnson County church and he’s a 7th grade English teacher at Christ Preparatory Academy in Lenexa.
According to a social media post from Crossroads Christian Church’s Facebook account, Senior Pastor Kurt Witten said:
“We are aware of the situation involving our Children’s Pastor, Matt Richards. We are gathering more information and will have a full statement at a later time. Please be respectful of this situation, as it is still an ongoing investigation. And please join us in praying for the Richards family during this time.
Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, we will not be livestreaming Sunday’s Services.”
Richards is being held on a $5 million bond. Investigators are not looking for any other suspects. The investigation is ongoing.