Pastor tells police he led double life

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He was a regular at Shari’s, where he usually sat at the counter and workers and diners knew his first name.

But Monday morning, Herman Lewis skipped the counter and instead tried to pay a cook to have sex in a Corvette and punched an elderly regular in the face so hard that Lewis told detectives he thought he’d killed him, according to court documents released Tuesday.

The documents state that the Morning Star Baptist Church pastor went on a bizarre rampage beginning at Shari’s Restaurant at Northwest Boulevard and Monroe Street and ending 10 blocks away with Lewis being taken away by ambulance, claiming that he was “God and/or Jesus.”

During interviews with police, Lewis, 49, told investigators he had been living a “double life,” and that “he would tell his congregation that he would praise Jesus and get the congregation to kick up their heels and say a few amens,” according to the documents.

After that, “the money would start rolling in,” Lewis told police. The pastor told police he would visit bars, drink, use crack cocaine and PCP, and pick up prostitutes.

Family members gathered outside a screening room in which Lewis’ first appearance was televised Tuesday afternoon. His wife, Sandra D. Lewis, sobbed loudly, according to witnesses.

Sandra Lewis told police that Herman Lewis had been acting strangely for the last four days, and that Sunday night he checked himself in to Sacred Heart Medical Center and spoke with a psychologist before being released.

The next morning, Lewis went to Shari’s, where he offered a cook $50 and asked her to have sex in the 2007 Corvette that Lewis was using as part of a three-day test drive, according to the documents.

When the cook declined, Lewis allegedly grabbed the woman and tried to force her out of the restaurant. She screamed for help, and an elderly customer rushed to her aid, punching Lewis, authorities said. Lewis returned the punch, leaving the man with bruises around his mouth and eye, police said.

Lewis then drove across the street to McDonald’s. He told detectives he went into the restaurant looking for another woman with whom to have sex and was prepared to use the gun taped under the dash of his car to force her.

But “all he saw were old people and kids,” the documents said. As he walked out, a police officer who had parked behind the Corvette ordered him to stop.

Lewis instead said, “Move your car,” according to police.

Lewis tried to get back into the vehicle while officers struggled to remove him, police said, but Lewis gained control and began moving the car forward and backward, pushing the police cruiser out of the way far enough so he could escape. In the process, he sent an officer flying toward a patrol car, giving him minor injuries.

Another officer drew his gun and tried to prevent Lewis from leaving, but Lewis drove straight toward him, police said. The officer had to roll out of the way, and Lewis fled.

Lewis drove east on Indiana, blowing by a set of spike strips and finally becoming stuck in traffic at Indiana and Division, police said. Officers used a Taser to get him out of the car, and as he was being arrested, they said Lewis told them that they had no authority to arrest him because he was a higher power.

Lewis remains in Spokane County Jail, where he declined an interview.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Spokesman Review, USA
May 2, 2007
Christopher Rodkey

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This post was last updated: May. 4, 2007