Arrest made in Priest slaying

, Posted: Mon, June 16 2014 at 12:16 PM, Updated: Mon, June 16 2014 at 12:27 PM

Arrest made in Priest slaying

(KPNX)  Phoenix police have confirmed the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Father Kenneth Walker.

Investigators arrested a 54-year-old man with a history of aggravated assault and misconduct involving weapons on suspicion of killing the 28-year-old priest found dead in a rectory near downtown Phoenix last week.

News of the arrest of Gary Michael Moran came hours before Valley residents honored Walker with a requiem Mass.

Phoenix police investigators had the name of the man suspected of killing a Catholic priest by Saturday afternoon, when a man when to police headquarters and reported that someone named Gary Moran was bragging about beating a priest and robbing him, according to court records.

Police would hear once again -- on Sunday -- from someone who claimed they had information linking Moran to the crime, this time from a woman who said Moran gave her a black bag that contained a camera belonging to one of two priests who were attacked, according to court records.

Moran, 54, was arrested and booked into jail shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of murdering Father Kenneth Walker, 28, and beating Father Joseph Terra, according to court records.

Terra told investigators that he heard a noise on Wednesday night and opened the kitchen door when he was attacked by a man holding an angle iron. Terra was bleeding and wanted to get to a gun that was kept in a nightstand next to his bed, according to the records.

Terra told police that he and Moran struggled over the weapon, but he was unable to shoot the gun because he had injured his finger in the scuffle with Moran.

"Father Terra stated the male made him get on his hands and knees and told him to give him money," according to court records. "Father Terra stated he blacked out and does not remember calling 911. The next thing he remembered was giving Father Walker absolution."

Phoenix police investigators interviewed Moran Sunday night and at first Moran told detectives that he did not remember what happened on Wednesday evening at the rectory but later said there was a struggle in the hallway with one of the priest's over a gun, according to court records.

"The other priest then came after (Moran) and he then shot that priest," according to court records.

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