Family of Wichita man killed Friday remembers him as kind and forgiving


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The family of a Wichita man killed in a hit-and-run and shooting on Friday says they forgive the woman responsible.

The stepdaughter and sister-in-law of Merrill Rabus say he overcame a difficult life and wanted to make the lives of others better.

“He said he’s gone,” said Alice Burke, Rabus’s sister-in-law.

The corner of 13th and Oliver is the place Rabus lost his life.

“He just loved happiness,” said Burke.

His stepdaughter Melisha Oakleaf-Wilson and sister-in-law Mary Alice Burke say Rabus was filled with the spirit of giving.

“He lived it. He breathed it,” Burke said. “Everything was beautiful because he did not see through the eyes that most of us see through and did not see anything that is not right in front of us. He saw everything, and it was beautiful.”

Candles and flowers are now strapped to a pole where he died. Wichita police say a driver hit Rabus while he was biking across the street on Friday. They say the driver then got out of her car and shot him. His family says biking was how he got around and how he helped those in need.

“He would take money that he had earned from working a hard job and would buy the parts that that bike needed and just give them away. He opened his home up to homeless people or people who needed a safe place to go,” Burke said.

Just as Rabus was a giving man, his family believes he would have wanted them to forgive the person who took his life.

“I hope she can get some help because we don’t know what she went through that day,” said Burke. “As a Christian, I have forgiven her.”

Family says Rabus helped give at least 100 bicycles to the underserved community.

Rabus worked for the Union Rescue Mission from 2017 to 2020 and was a graduate of the New Beginning program.

Doug Nolte, the CEO, says the program helps men experiencing homelessness, addiction, poverty and other life challenges.

“Merrill is the type of person who would forgive; he was forgiven and never took that for granted,” Nolte said.

Rabus’ memorial service is Saturday  at Grace Revolution Church 812 S. Oliver from 2-5 p.m.

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