Family still waiting on answers in pastor’s death

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Six weeks after a retired pastor was found shot dead on the side of the road, his family is growing more desperate for answers and investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

On Aug. 6, Dale Cross Sr.’s body was found next to his SUV along 68th Street between Burlingame and Clyde Park avenues in Byron Township. 911 callers said it looked like Cross was changing a flat tire when the shooting happened.

Cross’ family said he was on his way home after running an errand for his wife only about a mile and a half away.

“It’s hard not having my dad,” Cross’ oldest daughter Tammy Blood told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “We are very puzzled. We don’t have any answers. None.”

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department classified the death suspicious.

“I guess there’s three scenarios: there’s accidental death, suicide or homicide. And right now, we’re not ruling any of them out,” Lt. Ron Gates from the sheriff’s department said.

Blood thinks her dad was targeted.

“But again,” she said, “I don’t have any evidence to say that.”

Gates said a gun registered to Cross was recovered at the scene, but no other weapons were found. He wouldn’t talk about any other evidence, though he did say his team was awaiting lab results that could take months to come back.

“We are waiting for some DNA tests to come back and that’s normally what takes the longest,” Gates said.

Blood said her father, who used to be the pastor at Abundant Life Church in Byron Center, was a proud family man. She pleaded for anyone who knows anything to come forward.

“Every little bit of lead might break the case,” she said. “It might just be that one thing they’re looking for.”

Authorities are trying to track down possible witnesses, though they haven’t said anything about any suspects. The possible witnesses have been described as a white man in his late 20s or early 30s standing about 5-foot-5 with a thin build, and a white woman with longer dark hair. They were in a small pickup truck with a regular cab. It may be white or light gray with a red or maroon hood.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 616.632.6100 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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