updated 12/27/2009 2:40:08 AM ET 2009-12-27T07:40:08

A pastor fatally shot one of his eight children on Christmas Day during a dispute at the family home, where more than a dozen relatives had gathered to celebrate the holiday, police said.

Kirk Caldwell killed 21-year-old Jordan Caldwell after intervening in a violent confrontation between the son and a woman at around 2 p.m. at their home in suburban Philadelphia, Darby Borough police said Friday.

Kirk Caldwell fired a single shot, striking his son in the chest, police Chief Robert Smythe said. Jordan Caldwell died at a hospital shortly afterward, police said.

Smythe, who noted he had met Caldwell a couple of times, called the pastor a "very good man" and said he was "quite surprised."

"I find this is not something I would expect this guy to do," Smythe said.

'Retaliation is never the answer'
As a pastor at End Times Harvest Mission for Christ in Philadelphia, Kirk Caldwell had spoken against violence at a vigil for a slain teen in Darby last summer.

"Retaliation is never the answer. Retaliation is only going to make it worse," Caldwell said, according to the Daily Times of Delaware County.

Donald Mosby, 81, who has lived next door to Caldwell for a couple of years, said the pastor also worked as a plumber and seemed "like a moderate man."

He said Caldwell used to shuttle parishioners to and from church in his vans.

The 44-year-old Caldwell had not been charged as of Friday evening. The gun was legally registered to him, Smythe said.

There was no answer at the Darby Borough Police Department on Saturday. A woman who answered the phone at Caldwell's home Saturday declined to comment.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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