An unusual case has made headlines in Louisiana, after an Algiers pastor confronted a man who was stealing copper from an area church. The pastor, who was formerly a New Orleans police officer, shot the man and was charged with a crime in connection with that shooting. A scheduled court date was recently vacated in the matter, for the purpose of giving the prosecution and defense a chance to discuss a plea deal.
The incident took place in August of last year. The pastor, 63 years of age, discovered two men in the process of dismantling an air conditioning unit that sits between the pastor’s church and a snowball stand owned by the pastor. It is alleged that the pastor shot one of the men in the head as the thieves attempted to flee the scene. He then followed them in his SUV until he was able to flag down a police officer for help.
It is believed that the pastor fired a total of eight shots at the men as they ran from the scene. The 51-year-old survived the gunshot wound to his head. He later pleaded guilty to charges of criminal damage and attempted theft in the matter, and he is serving a 16-month sentence.
The pastor asserted that he acted in accordance with Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground laws. He was not initially arrested in the matter or charged with a crime, and he has no prior arrests. He served as a police officer for nine years, before resigning for health reasons. Eventually, however, he was charged with attempted manslaughter. Both of the men who were believed to be stealing copper at the time of the incident have criminal records.
Source: nola.com, “Trial postponed for Algiers pastor charged in shooting of accused copper thief”, Ken Daley, Sept. 16, 2015