The rector and members of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Houston, Texas, have reacted to the murder-suicide involving Nigerian doctor, Benjamin Okigbo, and his wife, Theresa.
According to Sugar Land police in Texas, the deceased also attempted to kill his 21-year-old sons by strangling them after shooting his wife.
The sons survived the attack with injuries that are not life-threatening.
“On Friday morning, a daughter, who doesn’t live at home, went after that, she became concerned. She wasn’t injured.
“Someone in the house called 9-1-1 Friday morning around 10 a.m. from home in the 1500 block of Brookstone Lane. When officers arrived, they found the couple’s bodies inside. They were both in their 50s.
“A neighbour said they were originally from Nigeria but had lived in the Greatwood home for about 20 years. She said she spoke to the wife a few days ago and nothing seemed out of the ordinary,” the police said.
While reacting to the tragedy, the rector, Patrick Hall, lamented that their deaths had devastated the church.
“The causes for grief in 2020 seem to multiply,” Hall said on the Facebook page of the church. “I am very sad to inform you that Ben and Theresa Okigbo died this morning at their home in Sugarland. Their sons Peter and Paul were transported to Memorial Sugarland Hospital, but have since been released.
“Currently they are with their sister, Laura, in the care of their uncle, Ben Okoh. This news is devastating for our Epiphany family, especially for many of our Nigerian members, whose lives and hearts were touched so profoundly by Ben and Theresa.
“We have no good answers, only broken hearts to bring to our Lord Jesus. And there is no better place for our broken hearts to be than in his care.
“I assured Ben and Laura that their Epiphany family is ready to surround them with grace and mercy and to be of any assistance we can to these three children who will now grapple with the loss of two parents. Keep them in your prayers. More information will follow as plans are made.”
Reacting to the pastor’s condolence, the church members and friends of the deceased expressed shock and grief at the tragedy.
“I am so sorry, Patrick,” Carole Chalfant Mather wrote. “I had said a prayer when I first heard the news but will pray again for the children. Such a sad thing to happen. Those children must be traumatised. Many prayers for them.”
Norma Johnson said, “I wish he had gotten mental health support and asked for help. I knew Ben and met his family when the boys were baptized. He worked with my husband for many years and ate lunch with him regularly. My heart goes out to his friends and family. He will be missed. Peace be with you.”
“Ohhh, God. This is sad. The worst outcome of domestic violence in Nigerian families. It’s so apparent. Victims are hiding their faces in shame instead of seeking help. Is help available? Where? When? How? Nigeria community in the Diaspora needs it. Peter, Paul and Laura, my heart goes out to you,” Lucia Otti.
“Ben Okigbo should have divorced my aunty, why take this action?” Jideofor Kenechukwu Ofili wrote. “May their souls rest in peace, l pray for the repose of their souls.”
“Devastating to read this. My prayers are with the family. Just shocking,” Marla Huseman Grace said.