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Louisiana pastor shot and killed during sermon, suspect in custody

Woodrow Karey, Jr.

A Louisiana pastor was shot and killed during a sermon Friday night as 50 to 60 parishioners, including the pastor’s wife, witnessed the grisly shooting, law enforcement said.

Woodrow Karey, 53, allegedly walked into Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center in Lake Charles, La., at about 8:20 p.m. and shot Pastor Ronald J. Harris Sr. twice – once while he was preaching and a second time at close range after Harris Sr. fell to the floor, Kim Myers, spokeswoman for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, told NBC News.

“Witnesses said that Karey fired one shot then he went up to him, stood over him and fired again,” Myers said said.

Myers said Karey used a shotgun to shoot the pastor.

Myers added that Karey, who has no criminal background, fled the scene but later called police to turn himself in. Karey was picked up minutes after the shooting by police without incident near the church.

Karey then allegedly directed deputies to two guns – a shotgun and a .22 pistol – he had discarded in a wooded area close to the intersection where he was detained, according to a press release.

Harris was pronounced dead at the scene, said Myers. The investigation is ongoing.

Karey is being held on a $1 million bond at the Calcasieu Correctional Center and will be charged with second degree murder, police said.

Representatives of Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center did not respond to requests for comment. Family members of Harris in Lake Charles said they had no comment, according to the Associated Press.