The life of a servant taken far too early… all over a cellphone.


FORT DODGE, Iowa – Pastor Allen Henderson was a pillar of hope to the community, extending his love and support to the law enforcement community. But on Wednesday night, he was brutally beaten, robbed and left for dead outside of his Iowa church.

Now police say they have the man responsible.


Pastor and Police Chaplain Allen Henderson was killed on Wednesday in an apparent assault and robbery. (Fort Dodge Police Department)


Police arrested 36-year-old Joshua Pendleton after it came to light that he was involved in the altercation that led to Henderson’s death. They say security footage recovered at the scene showed the suspect entering the church. Later, he confessed to fighting with Henderson and turned over a cellphone that he had taken from him.

He’s since been charged with first-degree murder.

He was originally supposed to appear in court on Thursday, but after a reported violent outburst in the Webster County Jail, his appearance was delayed in order for him to get a new public defender.


He beat a pastor to death outside his own church. Now he’s facing first-degree murder charges. (Webster County Jail)


The defendant has been convicted of multiple crimes previously, including assaulting a jail officer and disorderly conduct. 

ABC 9 reported that Allen Henderson was spotted lying unresponsive outside of the church building just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening. When police responded to the scene, they discovered Henderson badly beaten and bleeding on the ground.

Upon examining his injuries, they found that he had been the victim of what looked like a brutal assault. The 64-year-old pastor had been severely beaten and left for dead.


Emergency crews at the scene performed CPR in an attempt to save the beloved member of the community. He was transferred to Unity Point Trinity Regional Medical Center, a local hospital, but a press release said that he later died from his wounds. 

Investigators quickly found the man they suspected of killing Henderson.

“Due to the nature of the male’s injuries, Officers and Investigators on scene had reason to believe the circumstances surrounding the male’s death were suspicious. Information obtained from witnesses in the area, as well as other evidence, indicated a confrontation of some sort had occurred in or just outside the church. Shortly thereafter, the unresponsive male was located outside of the church,” the department said in a Facebook release. 

Fort Dodge officers began canvassing the area, and after a short time, managed to track down their suspect near the 1400 block of 4th Ave South. They made contact with Joshua Pendleton and asked him to come down to the Webster County Law Enforcement Center for further questioning. 

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Investigators say this man beat a police chaplain to death outside his own church


The Ford Dodge Police Department’s press release about the incident was posted to Facebook.

** MEDIA RELEASE **Case: FD19‐2933 – Murder 1st Degree and Robbery 1st Degree, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 400 South…

Posted by Fort Dodge Police Department -Official- on Wednesday, October 2, 2019


Henderson was the senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church and additionally served local law enforcement as a police chaplain. He is an active member of Serving our Servants, a group dedicated to helping first responders with financial aid and support.

“[He] will forever be remembered for his dedication and service for all of those he touched within this community and beyond,” a Facebook post from the department read. “He was a special person to many in our area.”

Pastor Al Henderson, Senior Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, and long-time Chaplain for all area law enforcement and…

Posted by Fort Dodge Police Department -Official- on Wednesday, October 2, 2019


“The Fort Dodge Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident. We encourage those who may have information to contact the police department. The Fort Dodge Police Department has been assisted in this investigation by the Webster County Sheriff’s Office and was assisted on scene by the Fort Dodge Fire Department.”

Our hearts go out to the Henderson family, the Fort Dodge community, and the brothers and sisters in blue that at mourning the loss of their beloved police chaplain. 

Rest in peace, Pastor Henderson.


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