LAKE CHARLES, LA — Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso addressed the media today regarding the case of a pastor who was shot and killed in front of his congregation.
“This is a shooting that took place in front of 60 some people, so it’s going to take time to come to a conclusion,” he said. “It will not just take days but several weeks to get to the truth and the bottom of this.”
Sheriff Mancuso explained that the high-profile and public nature of this crime has led to a number of rumors and interest from the media. He also noted that those rumors prompted a phone call from the FBI.
“There’s a lot of speculation as to what took place and the motive in this case and I’m going to tell you that we are going to proceed with great caution in this investigation,” he said. “You have so many rumors going on that it sometimes clouds the water for our investigation.”
The incident took place on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center. Woodrow Karey, Jr., 53, walked into the church and shot Pastor Ronald J. Harris, Sr., twice. He then fled the scene and called law enforcement shortly thereafter.
“It’s my understanding that they were great friends at some point,” Sheriff Mancuso explained. “I’m sure we’re going to get responses from both sides saying that they are great people.”
The possible motive investigators are currently working to confirm is that Pastor Harris was involved in some sort of sexual relationship with Karey’s wife.
“[A week before the actual shooting, Karey] stated that he had received some inappropriate images from his wife to Pastor Harris,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “Then, evidently, he confronted his wife and she filed a rape charge against Pastor Harris on Wednesday, September 25.”
Deputies were unable to interview Pastor Harris regarding the rape allegation before he was shot and killed on Friday.
“That’s where we are in this investigation,” he said. “At this time the charges against Mr. Karey are appropriate based on the information we have.”
Karey is being held in the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center for Second-Degree Murder. His bond was set at $1 million.