Family member arrested for Kilgore minister's murder

Community leader killed at Christmas Eve gathering


A Kilgore minister was shot to death on Christmas Eve: the victim's cousin is in jail in Rusk County as family and friends throughout the area grasp for answers in the midst of a devastating loss.

While local law enforcement's investigation continues, an initial report says the suspect suddenly and inexplicably approached the Rev. Waylon D. Hunt during a family gathering and shot him at point-blank range. Per judicial records, 37-year-old Marvin Durrell Sanders of Kilgore was booked Dec. 25 on $1 million bond, charged with murder.

The tragedy has rocked men, women and children throughout Kilgore – the community losing a leader, clergyman, mentor, husband and father.

Kilgore City Council member Victor Boyd served with Hunt through Kilgore Men of Alliance. It's one of numerous ways Hunt poured his time and energy into others' lives, he said.

“Waylon was a leader in the community,” Boyd praised. “He embodied leadership. He spread himself as far as he could to try to help anybody in the community.”

Details are still limited days after the Dec. 24 murder in southern Kilgore. Most official records were unavailable Monday and Tuesday due to post-Christmas closures at the Rusk County Courthouse and other agencies.

According to Sgt. David Roberts of the Rusk County Sheriff's Office, “At this time, it's an ongoing investigation and we can't talk,” he said, directing further questions about the case to Rusk Co. Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Joe Sorrells.

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Sorrells said there were few details available in the Probable Cause affidavit filed in Sanders' arrest.

The killing occurred early in the evening. Reportedly, family members had been watching a football game at a residence outside the Kilgore City Limits.

From initial information, “The guy walked into the shop, put a gun to Hunt's head and shot him,” Sorrells said. “He walked out of the shop,” and officers called to the scene detained him there soon after.

By the time emergency responders arrived, Sorrells noted, Hunt was dead.

According to the JP, there was no motive mentioned in the affidavit. He assessed Sanders later at the Rusk County Jail.

“I think he was probably on drugs when it happened,” Sorrells added. “He was a little altered when I looked him in the eye.”

Hunt was instrumental in Kilgore Men of Alliance, Boyd said, helping guide the organization in the midst of other activities, spreading his time between his family and their extracurricular activities, ministry and work.

Among various endeavors, the local minister completed Kilgore Police Department's 2017 Clergy & Police Alliance course in late-November.

“He was all about kids and leading by example,” Boyd said. “That's why he wanted to become a minister … He'd gone through the walk, leading by example in preaching the gospel.

“He's going to be truly missed.”