Motive unclear in killing of Louisiana pastor - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Motive unclear in killing of Louisiana pastor

Woodrow Karey, Jr. is shown in this photo after being charged in the shooting death of Pastor Ronald J. Harris, Sr., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office / AP Photo) Woodrow Karey, Jr. is shown in this photo after being charged in the shooting death of Pastor Ronald J. Harris, Sr., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office / AP Photo)

A candlelight vigil is planned Tuesday for a slain Louisiana pastor as his family and friends struggle to understand why a gunman burst into a church service and gunned him down.
    
Ronald Harris Sr. was shot to death Friday at his church in Lake Charles, but a church secretary said Monday that the motive remains a mystery.
    
The pastor's relatives and church members say the suspect, 53-year-old Woodrow Karey, was once a member of the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center but left several years ago.
    
Wendy Bernard, a church secretary and Harris family friend, was with the family Monday and said law enforcement officials have not yet provided them with a possible motive.
    
Asked if Karey had ever shown signs of hostility, Bernard said, "None at all."
    
She said the pastor's relatives don't know why the shooting happened.
    
"They're just taking it one millisecond at a time and trying to deal with the situation the best way they can," Bernard said in a telephone interview.
    
A candlelight service is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Tabernacle of Praise Worship, and a memorial service at 7 p.m. Thursday at True Light Baptist Church in Lake Charles.
    
Kim Myers, spokeswoman for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, did not immediately respond to a message early Monday.
    
Myers has said previously that Karey has no known history of crime or mental troubles, and called to surrender minutes after the shooting Friday night. He told deputies where to find a shotgun and a .22-caliber pistol he had left in nearby woods, Myers said.
    
Karey was booked on a second-degree murder charge, his bond set at $1 million.
    
It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer. Calls to his house rang unanswered on Monday.
    
The preaching had not yet begun Friday night when a gunman burst into the sanctuary, Talisha Harris, the pastor's daughter said in an interview over the weekend.
    
Her father was singing. So was she, as a member of the five-person praise group that accompanied him.
    
Then, she said, the woman who had been handing out visitor packets at the front door ran in, shouting, "He got a gun! He got a gun! He got a gun!"
    
"He came in down the middle aisle. He shot at my daddy" but hit a flower pot, Harris said. "My daddy ran. He shot him in the back. When he fell, he came closer and shot him again."
    
The gunman ran out a side door, she said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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