Police Have Little Information On Priest's Killer

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:45am
Updated: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 4:06pm

Investigators searching for solid leads after one priest was killed and another critically injured at a Roman Catholic church released what they acknowledge is little more than a "limited description" of the suspect on Friday. Sgt. Steve Martos said the description of a white male between the ages of 40 and 49 years old came from an interview with the Rev. Joseph Terra, who is hospitalized in critical condition with unspecified wounds.

There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Police are still unsure if there was only one suspect involved or whether robbery was the motive in the attack at the Mother of Mercy Mission, Martos said. A vehicle belonging to the Rev. Kenneth Walker, who died at a hospital late Wednesday, was found abandoned a few blocks from the church.

Police were investigating whether the suspect or suspects took the 2003 Mazda and left it behind after the crime. Authorities were examining the vehicle for clues in what Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia called a "tragic and appalling criminal violation."

The two priests lived at the church, located along a gritty stretch of downtown Phoenix near the state Capitol. Terra, 56, served as pastor and Walker, 29, as assistant pastor. Terra called 911 to report a burglary around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and administered last rites to the wounded Walker while waiting for police to arrive.

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