Winans, a Detroit pastor and famous gospel singer, probably wasn't recognized, police said. J. KYLE KEENER/DETROIT FREE PRESS
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Police said they don't believe a group of young attackers knew they had targeted a prominent Detroit pastor and gospel recording artist when they beat and carjacked him Wednesday afternoon.
The Rev. Marvin Winans had scrapes, bumps and ripped pants after the incident at a gas station in northwest Detroit.
The three or four young men fled with his gray Louis Vuitton wallet containing $200, his $15,000 Rolex gold-and-diamond-encrusted watch and the deep-burgundy 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV he was driving, according to Detroit police.
Winans, 54, who gave a eulogy for singer Whitney Houston at her funeral in February, refused EMS transport to a hospital but a friend drove him to get medical attention, police said.
He said he was pumping gas at a Citgo station on Davison and Linwood when a young man approached and "engaged him in conversation about the music he had on the radio," Detroit police Inspector Nick Kyriacou said.
When the young man suddenly told Winans that gas was spilling from his tank, the minister turned toward his SUV and the young man sucker-punched him from behind and pushed him down, after which "three or four men punched and kicked him on the pavement," Kyriacou said.
"Somebody said, 'Roll him over,' and they got his wallet," Kyriacou said.
As many as 10 young men, ages 18 to 20, were in the station when Winans paid for his gasoline, and the attackers apparently followed him to his car, Kyriacou said. Winans was able to describe only the one who spoke with him: 5 feet 4, in his late teens, wearing a white T-shirt and dark jeans, police said.
Winans' newest recording -- "Let the Church Say Amen" -- was listed on Billboard.com this week as the nation's top gospel recording. He is pastor of Perfecting Church, whose website says it has more than 3,000 members and a 4,500-seat sanctuary being built at Woodward and 7 Mile in Detroit. It has been incomplete for at least a year.
"I am shocked, but I'm not shocked that something like this happened at this location," said the Rev. James Garrett, pastor of Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church in southwest Detroit. Garrett, 67, said he lives near the crime scene and drove there after his daughter told him of the crime.
Anyone with information can call the Detroit police 10th Precinct anytime at 313-596-1000.