Pastor Ronald Harris Sr. was shot twice during a church service at the Tabernacle of Praise Church in Louisiana, according to information in the case report.
Around 60 members were in the church, in Calcasieu Parish, when the shooting happened.
Witnesses said that a man, later identified as Woodrow Karey Jr., entered the church with “a gun raised,” shot Harris twice, then fled on foot.
However, Karey called dispatch at 911 soon after, and was taken into custody in en empty lot north of Opelousas Street, west of Deshotel Lane, according to the released police report obtained by KPLC-TV.
Other deputies entered the church.
“”Deputies noticed Ronald lying on the floor next to the front pew at the north exit door,” according to the report. “After clearing the church of any other possible threats, Acadian Ambulance began their assessment of Ronald and advised deputies they were unable to find any vitals on Ronald.”
Meanwhile, Karey directed deputies to two guns, a shotgun and a .22-caliber pistol, in nearby woods. Deputies asked him what happened.
“He raped my wife,” Karey told them.
A deputy asked him if he had shot someone. Karey said “yes.”
Karey’s attorneys released a statement following the release:
“We are in the initial stages of attempting to gather all the pertinent facts. We realize that rumors and supposition are running rampant. However, we encourage everyone not to rush to judgment and to afford our client his constitutionally mandated presumption of innocence. We extend our heartfelt prayers to the Harris family.”
Information emerged after the shooting that Harris and Karey’s wife had exchanged text messages before she filed a rape complaint against Harris.
Karey told police that the text messages were “inappropriate,” reported KPLC.
“I’m sure we’re going to get responses from both sides, saying that they’re both great people and it’s my understanding that Pastor Harris and Mr. Karey were great friends at some point,” said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso at the time. “So, this makes it very difficult for us to get to the bottom of this if in fact people don’t come forth and tell us the truth. We’re in that process, it’s going to take a long time but that’s where we are in this investigation.”
There are several services planned for Harris, including a candlelight and memorial service.
His wake and funeral will be at Agape Love Center, located at 1515 Texas Street in Nachitoches. The wake is planned for Oct. 11 and the funeral is planned for Oct. 12.