Arrest made in Mother of Mercy Mission homicide case - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Police: Priest killed with gun owned by colleague

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Gary Moran Gary Moran
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - 54 year-old Gary Michael Moran is under arrest. He's facing murder charges in the shooting death of Father Kenneth Walker last Wednesday night. He's also facing charges for the brutal beating of Father Joseph Terra.

Around 9 p.m. Sunday evening, Phoenix Police descended on Urgent Psychiatric Care near 3rd St & Roosevelt. They got a tip that Gary Michael Moran was there in a wheelchair even though he didn't need one.

Officers arrested Moran without incident, and they explained how the vicious attack happened during a press conference Monday morning.

"We believe the motive here is a crime of opportunity, to do a burglary, and the burglary was discovered by Father Terra, who thought somebody was knocking at the door. He (Moran) opened the door window near the door and started attacking Terra violently and entered the room," said Chief Daniel Garcia.

Police say Moran hit Terra with a piece of metal. The priest tried to get to a gun he kept in his nightstand next to his bed but he couldn't fire it because his finger was injured.

Moran allegedly grabbed the pistol and when Father Walker came out of his room to see what was happening Moran shot him.

Gary Moran appeared before a judge Monday morning at the fourth avenue jail. Police say he has a history of violent crimes.

"In 2005, Gary Michael Moran, was arrested for a burglary where he attacked a homeowner with a knife, this is the history of our suspect, he is a career criminal, and a violent felony offender," said Chief Garcia.

Detectives linked Moran to the crime through DNA evidence left at the scene. He had just gotten out of prison this past spring after serving a nearly ten year sentence for burglary and aggravated assault. Police did credit tips received through Silent witness as helping to make the arrest.

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