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Lake Charles pastor shot to death during church service

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Ronald Harris Sr. (Source: www.tabernacleofpraiseworship.com) Ronald Harris Sr. (Source: www.tabernacleofpraiseworship.com)
Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office) Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A pastor was shot and killed during a church service on Friday night in Calcasieu Parish.

According to Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kim Myers, it happened around 8:20 p.m. at the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center at 307 Deshotel Lane in Lake Charles.

Myers said Pastor Ronald J. Harris Sr. was shot "as he was preaching."

Woodrow Karey Jr., 53, of Lake Charles, is accused of walking into the church and shooting Harris.

Myers said Harris, of Lake Charles, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Myers said Karey shot Harris with a shotgun twice, once when he walked into the church and a second time when Harris fell to the floor. Myers said Karey walked up to him and shot him at close range.

Karey fled on foot, Myers said, but called the Sheriff's Office and surrendered without incident.

A Calcasieu Correctional Center booking report indicates his location of arrest was Opelousas Street/Deshotel Lane.

Myers said at the time of Karey's arrest, he directed deputies to two guns he had discarded in a wooded area close to the intersection where he was apprehended. Myers said one was a shotgun and the other was a .22 pistol, both of which were recovered.

Karey was booked on a second-degree murder charge. Judge David Ritchie set bond in the case at $1 million.

Myers said Karey has no known criminal history.

Authorities say the motive for the shooting is unknown and the investigation continues.

According to Calcasieu Parish Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory, there were 65 witnesses inside the church at the time of the shooting, including the victim's wife.

"At this point, we're just trying to piece together as much information as we can," said Guillory. "And find out what the cause of this was."

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