A 22-year-old Florida pastor is left fighting for his life after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head during a road rage incident. Pastor Steven Simon had just left a church service and was headed northbound on I-95 Thursday evening when the senseless shooting occurred. Lovelyn Salomon, Simon’s passenger inside the 2014 Honda Pilot, called 911 to report the incident in a desperate cry for help. Although the shooter has yet to be found, Salomon was able to give law enforcement a basic description of their attacker and his vehicle.
The passenger told the emergency dispatcher that she and Simon were driving when a white male driver, who appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, cut them off. The woman said they continued driving and the older man, with graying hair, cut them off again before he fired a gun at them striking Simon in the head. Salomon said just before Simon was shot the aggressor began creeping them out as he slowed down in front of them. Simon tried to move away from the driver, but he then pulled alongside them.
After the shooting, Simon’s vehicle veered off the highway and busted through a metal barrier before it finally stopped. The first deputy on the scene found Simon, still conscious but slumped over in the driver’s seat. According to the officer Simon said, “Officer help me. I’m going under, I need oxygen.”
After the incident Simon was flown by helicopter to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce where he remains in critical care. Interstate 95 northbound was closed down from Indiantown Road to Kanner Highway, according to William Snyder, Martin County Sheriff. Snyder is asking for the community’s assistance in bringing this attacker to justice.
We desperately need the public’s help, there’s someone out there who can help us. Unfortunately, road rage is becoming a part of our culture. People got upset where there was a slow down. It is just absolutely ludicrous to let a situation like this escalate to attempted murder.
Simon is the pastor of a church in West Palm Beach. The official name of the church Simon founded is Straight Way to Heaven A.O.K. (Advancement of the Kingdom) Ministries, Inc. This is a multicultural, faith-based church. According to the church’s website the ministry is non-denominational with an apostolic influence and believes in healing and deliverance and the supernatural.
When describing Pastor Simon the website states he was raised in a God-fearing family. Frantz and Linda Simon, the victim’s parents, always took him to church as a youngster and believed early on he was destined for ministry. Simon preached his first sermon at the tender age of 12 and has never stopped.
Pastor Simon graduated high school in the top ten percent of his class and received several different awards. He attended Community Brevard Institute Seminary and obtained an AA degree in Biblical studies while he was still a student in high school. In 2012, Simon was reportedly in school pursuing a Bachelor in Theology Degree with an anticipated June graduation. The news in his area deemed him the youngest senior pastor in the U.S. when he started his church at 19-years-old.
On Saturday Emma, Simon’s wife, said her husband was doing well. However, the pastor remains in a medically induced coma, listed in critical condition according to the spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department. Police are searching for a champagne-colored color. Salomon told investigators the vehicle may have been a small 1999 or 2000 model, possibly a Saturn or Ford Taurus. The sheriff is asking the public to come forward with any information about the incident.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)