A Baltimore minister has said he is determined to see justice served after a team of panhandlers preyed on his wife’s compassionate nature and stabbed her to death. The horrific incident took place last week when Keith and Jacquelyn Smith noticed a woman at the side of the road who appeared to be holding a baby and a sign pleading for help.
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According to CBN, the sign read: “Please help me feed my baby.”
But when the couple wound down their window and attempted to assist the woman, a man approached the car, reached into the vehicle and attempted to snatch Jacquelyn’s wallet. A struggle ensued, at which point the man pulled out a knife and plunged it into the woman’s torso.
“He snatched her necklace and before I knew it, the girl snatched the lil’ pocketbook in the seat and they both ran,” Keith recalled. “I jumped out the car to run, but I heard my wife screaming. I came back to the car.”
The woman’s sign, he said, “must have been like a stuffed animal or something wrapped in a blanket” to imitate the appearance of a baby. Clearly, it was an elaborate ploy to entrap those with good intentions.
“She was trying to help someone out,” he added to ABC News. “I think the reality is, we forget about the times that we’re living in. You may have the best intentions on helping this person, but when you let a person get into your safe zone, you’re actually opening yourself up to whatever this person has intended for you.”
Despite rushing Jacquelyn to hospital, she later passed from her injuries. In the wake of his wife’s untimely death, Keith made some powerful remarks about his desire to help others and minister to them in their need, despite some people’s propensity to bring harm. “I need people to know, ’cause I’m a minister, man of God, and I try to help people,” he noted in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. “But we’re in our last days and we need to understand there are some desperate people. They don’t need help. They’re trying to hurt you.”
“I’m going to make it my life work, my wife didn’t die in vain,” he added. “I want to try to get a law passed against this epidemic of these people out here begging for money and getting close proximity of your car.”
Finally, Keith issued a warning to all those who are inclined to try and help those begging on the streets. “For anybody that’s in Baltimore, be careful when we see these panhandlers out and getting close proximity to your car because, like me, I’m from Baltimore, the last thing I thought they were going to take my wife’s life,” he said.
“And so now I gotta live with that. I gotta live with that every day.”
In the wake of such a savage attack, Baltimore interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle noted that attackers were “using this ruse as panhandlers to get the attention of their would-be victims.”
Tuggle added a warning: “We also want to caution the public about engaging with panhandlers in recognizing the fact not all of them have honest intent. Not all of them are in real need.”
Now, as he continues to grieve the brutal death of his beloved wife, Keith wants to see those responsible brought to justice, and quickly.
“I don’t want to beat myself up, but I feel somewhat responsible for letting that person get that close to my wife,” Keith said. “It’s just a lot right now going through my mind. That’s why it’s hard for me to sleep because now I’m trying to see how I could have did things differently, how I could have took another street. I’m just thinking of all kind of ways that my wife would still be here.”
Keith Smith on his wife Jacquelyn:
“She was just everything to me. My everything. We called each other soulmates.”
Jacquelyn was murdered in E Baltimore early Sat morning, police say, when she tried to help a mother asking for money. They call the crime heinous and premeditated. pic.twitter.com/Nqr7zddaNs
— Devin Bartolotta (@WJZDevin) December 3, 2018
“I just want justice,” the grieving husband concluded. “That’s it. I just want justice for my wife.”
On Friday night, friend and family gathered at Helping Hands Ministries to remember the compassionate 52-year-old.
“She was doing a kind deed,” said Derick Maull, a co-worker of Smith’s. “That is her legacy, one of kindness and care and concern. People die. Legacies do not die.
“Jacqui’s tragic death has shaken this community,” added Bishop Roger L. Tatuem, senior pastor of Helping Hands. “Not just this community, but the entire world… People were touched who didn’t even know Jacqui. We have received phone calls after phone calls, people wanting to know: ‘What can we do? How can we help?’
“We are believers,” he continued, “we don’t stop giving. Don’t allow the spirit of fear to overtake you.”
Do pray for Keith and the family as they come to terms with this horrific loss.
(H/T: Baltimore Sun)