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Murdered Lake Charles Pastor Accused of Rape by Shooter’s Wife, Investigation Continues

Pastor Ronald J. Harris

Friday night’s killing of a Lake Charles pastor during his church services may be the result of rape allegations filed against the pastor in the days before the shooting.

According to a KPLC interview with Sheriff Tony Mancuso, the investigation into those rape allegations has only just started, and will continue for some time.

The shooting suspect, Woodrow Karey, 53, allegedly intercepted “inappropriate” text messages between his wife and Pastor Ronald Harris during the week prior to the shooting, said Mancuso.  Search warrants are being obtained for phone records, and those allegations remain uncorroborated.

Woodrow Karey, Jr.
Woodrow Karey (Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office)

After Karey confronted his wife, she filed rape allegations against Harris on Wednesday, September 25. It remains unclear whether a consensual or non-consensual relationship took place between Harris and Mrs. Karey.

Mancuso said Karey and Harris had at one time been “great friends” according to witnesses. He said he expected the investigation to continue over the course of the next month or so.

Karey walked into the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center at around 8:20 p.m. Friday night and opened fire on Pastor Ronald Harris with a shotgun.  There were around 65 people present, including Harris’ family.

Karey remains behind bars on a $1 million bond.  He turned himself in to authorities shortly after the killing. He was a former member of the church.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Tabernacle of Praise. A separate memorials service is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m. at True Light Baptist Church in Lake Charles. Harris’ funeral is set for Saturday morning at Agape Love Church in Nachitoches.

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