Man Kills Self in SoCal Televangelist's Cathedral

Fired gun while tour guide discussed anti-suicide program
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2009 9:30 AM CST
Garden Grove Police investigate the scene of a apparent suicide near the altar inside televangelist Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., on Feb. 18.   (AP Photo/Mark Avery)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – A man shot and killed himself in front of a cross inside televangelist Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral yesterday as a nearby volunteer told a group of visitors about the church's suicide-prevention program, police and church officials said. The man handed a note and his driver's license to two ushers, walked to the cross and then shot himself in the head as he appeared to be praying, a pastor said.

The coroner identified the man as Steve Smick, 48. There was no record of Smick being a member at the Crystal Cathedral, said a rep. The glass-walled, 10,000-member megachurch in Orange County is home to the "Hour of Power" broadcast, an evangelism staple aired internationally for more than three decades. Thousands visit the cathedral to see where the broadcast is filmed. (Read more televangelist stories.)