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Police chief: Suspect in priest's murder 'a career criminal'

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Gary Moran Gary Moran
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia describes 54-year-old Gary Moran as a "career criminal."

Moran is accused of shooting and killing Father Kenneth Walker and brutally beating Father Joseph Terra at the Mother of Mercy Mission on Wednesday.

Police arrested Moran Sunday night at an urgent psychiatric care unit in downtown Phoenix. Moran had checked himself into the facility earlier that day.

Police say the motive for the attack is burglary. It all started when Terra thought someone was knocking on the door.

"He opened the door. The window was so close to the door he immediately started attacking Father Terra and the attack became more violent," said Garcia.

Police say Moran beat both Terra and Walker with an angle iron. Terra then got a gun that he kept in a nightstand, and he and Moran fought over it. Terra told police he wasn't able to shoot Moran because he hurt his finger during the fight.

Police said Moran then used Terra's gun to shoot and kill Walker.

"He didn't go into the details as to why he did it, but he did talk to us about being there, the struggle that ensued, then he revoked his rights," said Garcia.

Moran is homeless and unemployed. He was released from prison in April after serving about eight years for aggravated assault. Police say DNA evidence taken from the scene and from Walker's stolen SUV matched that of Moran.

Along with DNA evidence, police say two witnesses helped them. A man told investigators Moran had bragged to him about beating a priest and robbing him, and a woman told police Moran gave her a black bag with a camera that belonged to one of the priests.

Moran's bond was set a $1 million cash.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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