Pastor kills self as police question him over girl

PHOENIX Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:28pm EDT

Related Topics

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona pastor shot and killed himself at his church after being served with a search warrant investigating his Internet conversations with a 14-year-old girl, police said on Friday.

Nicholas William Minerva, 52, committed suicide on Thursday, shortly after officers arrived at the Trinity Baptist Fellowship Church in south Phoenix, said Detective Frank Mendoza, a Chandler, Ariz., police department spokesman.

"After we made contact, he ran away and retreated back into the church," Mendoza told Reuters. "A short time later, he shot himself to death."

It was unclear if the girl or her family are church members, he said.

Police said Minerva allegedly contacted the teen in a chat room in July and continued through Thursday. He allegedly had "inappropriate conversations" with her and once showed his genitalia via a webcam, police said.

Minerva has been a Trinity Baptist pastor since January 2004, according to the church website.

A call to the church was answered by a voice mail recording made by Minerva.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Dan Whitcomb)

FILED UNDER: