Suspect in shooting pastor at local church

June 24, 2009 at 3:51 am Leave a comment

*published June 24, 2009


Barry Weldon Thomas is taken into custody following Monday’s shooting in Moss Bluff.  BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Barry Weldon Thomas is taken into custody following Monday’s shooting in Moss Bluff. BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

A Lake Charles man arrested in connection with a Monday shooting has a lengthy criminal history and is a pastor at a local church, authorities said.

Barry Weldon Thomas, 49, was charged with two counts of illegal use of a weapon and one count of illegal carrying of a weapon. He was released Monday evening on $10,500 bond, according to parish jail records.

Authorities said Thomas is the pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church on Fifth Avenue. According to clerk of court records — where at least one entry includes the abbreviation “Rev.” — his criminal history dates from 1996 and includes charges of animal cruelty, theft over $500 and drug possession.

At about 1 p.m. Monday, deputies responded to a shooting at 470 W. Telephone Road in Moss Bluff, authorities said. There they reportedly found Thomas lying on the ground in the front yard with a semiautomatic pistol pointed toward the mobile home.

Thomas was arrested, and two victims — Craig Thomas and Albert Sweet — were taken to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital to be treated for injuries to the neck, chest and leg, authorities said.

“The two victims are still in the hospital, but detectives don’t think their injuries are life-threatening,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kim Myers.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said detectives spent the rest of the day interviewing witnesses.

“We determined that there were eight people in the house, including Thomas,” Mancuso said. “We talked to all but one person, and they, including Thomas, admitted they had been smoking crack cocaine.”

He said detectives are not sure what set Thomas off, but that he fired 14 shots inside the home.

“In his and witnesses’ statements, he was described as acting very irrational and erratic,” Mancuso said.

He said none of the eight people lived in the mobile home, which is owned by Floyd Sweet, whom Mancuso said was working out of town.

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