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Family: New Brunswick Pastor Killed While ‘Trying To Protect Everybody’

Donald Hughes (credit: handout via CBS 2)

Donald Hughes (credit: handout via CBS 2)

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – Police in New Jersey are still searching for a suspected gunman who they killed the pastor of a New Brunswick church.

Police said 47-year-old Donald Hughes was shot and killed Friday night on Spruce Street in Newark.

Hughes was home with his family getting ready for the holiday weekend when family members say they heard screams outside.

His stepdaughter, 14-year old Cassandra Ruffin, says the suspect approached her and her two cousins and attacked them. She says Hughes was shot while trying to close a door to apparently keep the suspect out of the home.

“He was trying to protect everybody in the house,” Cassandra told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano. “It’s a tragic thing to see your own dad get shot.”

Cassandra’s mother and Hughes’ wife, Michele Ruffin-Hughes, says her husband had just secured worship space in New Brunswick as the pastor of the Praise Tabernacle Ministries.

“Whoever this person was, I hope they have a conscience and turn themselves in,” she said. “Seeing her dad killed in front of her, that’s nothing that no child should see.”

The family is trying to plan and pay for a funeral.

Meanwhile, police are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that may lead to the suspect’s arrest.

Prosecutors say they still haven’t determined a motive for the shooting, but Newark police say the preliminary motive appears to be a robbery.