At peace rally, Bloomfield pastor recalls violent attack
Reginald Myers bears the cuts on his body, including a deep gash from his forehead to his left ear, which police said happened in a vicious, Nov. 7 attack outside his Bloomfield home.
Yet Myers said he doesn’t hold hate in his heart for his accused attackers.
“It’s really not my power. It’s not my first encounter with death,” Myers, a former military police officer and retired employee of the New Castle Youth Development Center, said Saturday. “When I’ve been saved that many times by the hand of God, you have to forgive. I can’t let this hold me down.”
About 40 people rallied in Friendship Park in Bloomfield Saturday to support Myers, 65, the assistant pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Manchester.
Myers said he wanted the rally to “establish a forum for peace, and to demonstrate the legitimacy of true love. Although what happened between us was, I feel, a racial hate attempt to take my life, God told us we’re all one people, all one love under him.”
Police have charged Gerard Rupert, 33, of Troy Hill; Kaela Rupert, 31, of Lawrenceville; and Robert Noftz, 36, of Millvale with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation.
Gerard Rupert remained in the Allegheny County Jail Saturday, unable to post $100,000 bail. Kaela Rupert and Robert Noftz, who have been released from jail awaiting a preliminary hearing Thursday, could not be reached.
Myers said he heard a woman calling for help just before midnight outside his home. Knowing that his wife, Carol, had just been outside with their dog, he went onto his front porch, where he saw a man arguing with a woman.
He told the man to leave the woman alone, and a second man appeared,
“ ‘I told you guys to take it away from my house,’ ” Myers said he told the group. They began to use racial slurs. One man then darted forward, and Myers said he jumped over the front railing to avoid a confrontation.
Within moments, all four were struggling, Myers said. One man pulled a knife, threatened to cut his throat and said, “Tonight, you’re gonna die,” Myers said.
The man cut his head. Myers said he deflected the knife so it couldn’t cut his neck.
Myers said two other women appeared and kicked him when he was on the ground, though they haven’t been identified.
“There’s two perpetrators hiding in the shadows somewhere,” Myers said.
He also praised his sister, Lee Ann Myers, who dashed out of her house next door when hearing the fracas.
“What saved Pastor Myers’ life was someone being vigilant and aware of what was happening to him,” said Celeste Scott of Beltzhoover, who attended the rally and held a sign that read “Peace and Unity” with “Violence and Racism” crossed out beneath it.
“I think you’re always going to have people who are violent, and maybe drunk and partying, but I think if we have community policing or the community coming out, patrolling the streets, I think we can circumvent some of the violence,” Scott said.
Lee Ann Myers said she didn’t want to talk about the attack because the memories were still raw.
“We need peace,” she said. “We need to keep preaching non-violence.”
Her brother said, “There’s no consolation in hate, and worse yet, there’s no reconciliation in hate.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.