Priest killed with gun owned by colleague

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Priest killed with gun owned by colleague
Gary Moran is seen in this June 16, 2014 booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office. Moran is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, burglary and armed robbery, among others charges in the killing of a Roman Catholic priest and the beating of a second priest at a downtown Phoenix church. The Rev. Kenneth Walker was shot and killed and the Rev. Joseph Terra was badly beaten and remains hospitalized from the Wednesday, June 11, 2014 attack at the Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic church in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Maricopa Country Sheriffs Office)
Parishioners kneel at the front door at the Roman Catholic church the Mother of Mercy Mission at a makeshift memorial for the Rev. Kenneth Walker on Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Phoenix, after a Wednesday evening attack leaving Walker shot and killed and the Rev. Joseph Terra critically injured. Police have no suspects at this point, but they are canvassing the neighborhood and going over physical evidence from the scene. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Mother of Mercy Mission Roman Catholic church parishioner Marsha Livingston walks past a makeshift memorial at the front door for slain priest the Rev. Kenneth Walker on Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Phoenix, after a Wednesday evening attack left Walker shot and killed and the Rev. Joseph Terra critically injured. Police have no suspects at this point, but they are canvassing the neighborhood and going over physical evidence from the scene. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A makeshift memorial is set up for the Rev. Kenneth Walker, at the Roman Catholic church the Mother of Mercy Mission on Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Phoenix, after a Wednesday evening attack left Walker shot and killed and the Rev. Joseph Terra critically injured. Police have no suspects at this point, but they are canvassing the neighborhood and going over physical evidence from the scene. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The Rev. Fred Adamson, middle, vicar general of the Phoenix Archdiocese, speaks at a news conference as Phoenix Chief of Police Daniel Garcia, left, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, right, listen in on Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Phoenix, after a Wednesday evening attack left priest, the Rev. Kenneth Walker, shot and killed and another priest, the Rev. Joseph Terra, critically injured at the Roman Catholic church the Mother of Mercy Mission. Police have no suspects at this point, but they are canvassing the neighborhood and going over physical evidence from the scene. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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PHOENIX (AP) -- A homeless ex-convict with a history of violence and drug abuse was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing a clergyman with a handgun that had been retrieved by another priest after he was hit with an iron rod at a Phoenix church, police said.

Police say the Rev. Joseph Terra went to investigate noises in a church courtyard and was attacked by 54-year-old Gary Michael Moran with the piece of metal before the priest fled and got a .357-caliber gun from his bedroom.

Moran wrestled the weapon away from the injured priest and killed Terra's assistant, the Rev. Kenneth Walker, after he rushed to the aid of his colleague, court records show.

Moran stole a camera and fled in Walker's car, police said.

Suspect Arrested In Connection With Phoenix Priest Shooting

Police Chief Daniel Garcia called the attack "a violent, tragic, horrifying offense" committed by a career criminal who had been out of prison only six weeks. Moran had served about eight years on charges that included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

In the 2005 case, police said, Moran entered a Phoenix apartment, found a steak knife, went into the bedroom and stabbed a man in the abdomen without provocation before being subdued.

Moran didn't know the victims or recall the crime, and he cited a history of drug abuse including recent methamphetamine use, police said. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Moran was also sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty in 2001 to misconduct involving weapons. He was convicted in two 1989 burglaries as well.

During his recent stint in prison, Moran was found guilty of more than a dozen infractions, including four for drug manufacturing and possession, the Department of Corrections records show.

"He is a career criminal, a violent felony offender," Garcia said.

The priests were attacked Wednesday in the rectory of the Mother of Mercy Mission. Walker, 28, died of a gunshot wound and Terra was badly beaten. Terra was able to give Walker last rites after the assault.

The news of the arrest came just as a Mass was to be held for Walker at another church in Phoenix.

"We're relieved that he's not out there doing it again and we hope some good comes out of it for him," Walker's stepsister, Sasha Keys, said of the arrest. She said nearly $42,000 in donations had poured in from around the country.

"It was incredible," she said. "I'm still getting letters in the mail with checks."

Police previously said Terra gave them a limited description of the suspect. Detectives said they were running forensic tests on evidence collected at the scene of the assault and from Walker's vehicle, which was found abandoned several blocks from the church near the state Capitol.

Terra was moved out of a hospital intensive care unit Saturday and is expected to make a full recovery. The Rev. Carl Gismondi, a pastor visiting from San Diego, conducted Mass at the priests' church Sunday and said he had visited his fellow clergyman at the hospital.

"He was in good spirits," Gismondi said after the service.

Walker was born in upstate New York, had 10 siblings and was drawn to the priesthood after attending traditional Latin Mass with his family in high school. He later joined the seminary, made good grades and enjoyed playing soccer, said the Rev. Joseph Lee, academic dean at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska.

Walker eventually joined a Catholic order that specializes in Latin Mass and became a priest in downtown Phoenix. He recently officiated a younger sibling's wedding in Kansas - the last time he saw many relatives.

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Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud and Emaun Kashfi contributed to this report.

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