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Monday, Jul. 01, 2013

Murder charge filed in shooting death of retired minister

The Kansas City Star

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He was only going to be gone a short while, Thomas Dean Sr. told his family Saturday afternoon.

Fifteen minutes or so to help a friend move some things from a house in Waldo. Then he’d be back in time to go to the baseball tournament that relatives were in town for.

But the retired minister never returned.

Around 3 that afternoon, Dean was killed by a bullet fired during some kind of dispute at the house that his friend was moving out of.

On Sunday, prosecutors filed second-degree murder charges against David Allen, a 37-year-old Vacaville, Calif., man. Allen also was charged with armed criminal action. He allegedly shot Dean, 58, in the driveway of a house in the 200 block of West 78th Street.

According to witness statements to police, a car with two men in the front seats pulled into the driveway of the house shortly before 3 p.m. Dean pulled his truck behind the car and got out to speak to the other driver.

The driver told police that he and Dean were talking about collecting some items that had been for sale at the house that day.

One witness said Dean appeared to be disgruntled. Another said there appeared to be an argument.

During that conversation, Allen left through the passenger door of the vehicle, pulled a gun from his waistband and approached Dean, police said.

Soon after, witnesses said they heard a single gunshot, and Allen allegedly ran away. Dean died at the scene.

The driver said there was no physical contact between Allen and Dean before the shooting.

Police arrested Allen a few minutes later, near a park several blocks away. He was sweating, and authorities said they found a .38-caliber handgun in his pocket, the same gun police believe was used in the killing.

Though retired from regular ministry, Dean, a father of six, had continued to fill in for other ministers, according to one of his sons.

He was also one eager to lend a hand and the use of his truck when there was work to do, Thomas Dean Jr. said.

“He was just that kind of guy, always willing to help,” he said.

If there was a confrontation, the son added, it was doubtful that his father started it. Dean had a master’s degree in family therapy and was working toward his doctorate. He counseled others in how to deal with conflicts and wasn’t prone to escalate them.

“That wasn’t the type of person he was,” he said. “Even if he got a bad meal at a restaurant, he’d eat it rather than complain.”

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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