Police Probe Florida Pastor’s Death

August 16th, 2011 by Staff

http://online.wsj.com — Police said Monday they found a white powdery substance believed to be drugs in a pocket of a pastor who was found dead Friday in a New York hotel room.

Law-enforcement officials found the substance in the possession of the Rev. Zachery Tims, Jr. Mr. Tims, who was 42 years old, founded a ministry of 8,000 members in Florida and became a high-profile church leader through his frequent television appearances. He chronicled his struggle with teenage drug addiction in a 2006 memoir.

Another law-enforcement official familiar with the case said, “What that white powdery substance is and whether it played a role in Mr. Tims’s death is still to be determined.”

An autopsy was performed on Mr. Tims, but the medical examiner’s spokeswoman said authorities were awaiting results of toxicology tests before determining the cause of death.

It is unclear what brought Mr. Tims to Manhattan last week. Police said he was scheduled to fly from New York to Texas on Thursday night. By about 5 o’clock on Friday afternoon, Mr. Tims still hadn’t checked out from room 3711 at the W Hotel near Times Square, police officials said. A worker trying to refill the room’s minibar couldn’t enter because the metal lock bar was engaged.

Hotel officials opened the door and found Mr. Tims lying face up on the floor wearing a T-shirt and shorts. In the right pocket of his shorts, police found a small plastic envelope containing a white powder.

As news of the death circulated, condolences poured in to Mr. Tims’s church, the New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla. Mourners flocked to the church and posted messages of shock and sadness on social media sites.

“I join many others in being saddened by the news of the death of Rev. Zachery Tims of Florida,” the Rev. Al Sharpton wrote in a Twitter message.

Mr. Tims grew up dealing and using drugs in Baltimore and was accused as a teenager of attempting to kill a fellow gang member, though he pleaded guilty to lesser charges, according his autobiography, “It’s Never Too Late.” He had a religious epiphany and gave up drugs just before his 20th birthday, he wrote.

In 1996, Mr. Tims and his wife, Riva, moved from Baltimore to Orlando and founded the New Destiny Christian Center, holding their first service in a hotel room. The ministry also runs a 34,000-square-foot youth center that includes a gym, bowling alley and cyber café.

“He was able to do extraordinary things,” said Rev. Randolph Bracy of the New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando. “He literally catapulted a church that started in a hotel room into a megachurch.”

Around 2009, Mr. Tims and his wife ended their 15-year marriage after he admitted to an extramarital affair, according to Ms. Tims’s father, Fred Jennings.

Charisma House ceased publication of Mr. Tims’s book after learning of his divorce, according to the company’s chief executive, Steve Strang. In March, the company plans to publish a book by Riva Tims, titled “When It All Falls Apart.”

One Response

  1. Johnny D

    If you’ve ever seen Mr. Timms’ on television even Ray Charles could see that his ass was as high as a Georgia Pine tree……sweating like a brother writing bad checks AND spitting lil’ white balls of spit everytime he popped a “p”………….hell, His anticks embarrased me just flipping through the channels. What ever happend to “lead a brother gently” not rant and rave for 45 mins. then ask for your hard earned money. Damn, Rick James!!

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