North Texas church members gather for 1st time since the death of their pastor

A church community gathered for the first time Sunday since the death of a beloved pastor and two his family members.

Eugene Keahey, along with his wife, Deanna Keahey, and their 15-year-old daughter, Camryn, were killed in a house fire Thursday morning.

Two other family members were helped to safety by police officers, and their other teenage daughter is at Parkland Hospital with serious injuries.

Pastor Keahey was the head of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Sandbranch, and a helpful figure in the community.

Church members were still grieving as they gathered for Sunday services just three days after the tragedy.

“This is what Pastor Keahey would've wanted us to do,” music director Maurice Hale said.

Hale said it was about three years ago that Keahey took him on to help with the music ministry at the church.

“He accepted me sight unseen,” Hale said. “Encouraged me, really was a dependable. A rock.”

But on Sunday, church members worshipped without Keahey, his wife Deanna - who taught bible study -  and their daughters - who sang in the choir.

It was early Thursday morning when a fire ripped through the Keahey’s home in Cedar Kill, killing Pastor Keahey, his wife, and one of their teenage daughters.

The news spread quickly among the Mt. Zion Church community.

“We are broken-hearted, but life must go on,“ Hale said. “Everybody's torn up about this.”

A community came together to mourn the death of a church and community leader, and pray for his family.

“He'd want it to continue. He'd want us to come together, remember him in a good way, and not hold hate in our hearts,” church member Roberto Garcia said.

“I'll be honest, I've been dreading it all week, but I have a job to do and it's what pastor would've wanted,” Hale said.

Cedar Hill police opened up a criminal investigation into the fire that killed the Keahey’s after officers found evidence inside the home.

The fire had been burning for some time before first responders became aware of it.

Police also said neighbors heard what sounded like gunshots around the time of the fire.

Church members say no matter what comes out of the investigation, it won't change who the Keaheys were to their church family.

“He was down to earth. He was very friendly. He accepted you, he didn't judge you,” church member Jessica Garcia said.

“What's being said about, or implied about him, it's not the pastor we know,” Hale added.