Associate pastor charged in fatal park shooting bonds out of jai - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Associate pastor charged in fatal park shooting bonds out of jail

Gene Autrey Morris, Jr. (Source: WIS) Gene Autrey Morris, Jr. (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The congregation of a church in Columbia has questions as one of the leaders that members look to for guidance is now facing charges in connection with a fatal shooting.

Columbia police arrested 22-year-old Gene Autrey Morris, Jr. on Tuesday. Investigators believe Morris brought an illegal firearm to Finlay Park on the night of May 27 and got into an argument with 37-year-old Laron Martin.

Martin suffered a fatal gunshot wound at the park and later died.

"It hurt me when I heard about it because he never did anything wrong to anybody. He's a friendly guy," Junior Dinkins, a member of the Second Nazareth Baptist Church, said.

Church leaders say Morris had been involved with the congregation for several years and most recently had been serving as an associate pastor. Within the last month, Morris also graduated from Allen University.

"I never see him out of character or out of place. He's always helping with the congregation and members of the church," said Jada Myers, who is also a member at Second Nazareth.

Authorities believe Morris went out to the park after getting a phone call from two females who were allegedly being harassed by Martin. Investigators also say Morris left the scene without calling the police after the shooting.

Morris is charged with unlawful possession of a pistol. On Wednesday a judge set bond in the case at $75,000 surety. He was released on bond Thursday.

The Columbia Police Department is continuing to investigate the matter and authorities say more charges could be filed.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved. 

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • WATCH: Two tornadoes form near Des Moines, IA

    WATCH: Two tornadoes form near Des Moines, IA

    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:19 PM EDT2018-07-19 23:19:58 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:19 PM EDT2018-07-19 23:19:58 GMT
    The powerful storm system caused damage in at least three communities. (Source: Ryan Dunn/CNN)The powerful storm system caused damage in at least three communities. (Source: Ryan Dunn/CNN)

    The powerful storm system caused damage in at least Iowa three communities.

    More >>

    The powerful storm system caused damage in at least Iowa three communities.

    More >>
  • Zuckerberg's Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

    Zuckerberg's Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 6:08 PM EDT2018-07-18 22:08:46 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-07-19 23:18:36 GMT
    Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't believe Holocaust denial content should be banned from Facebook. (Source: CNN)Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't believe Holocaust denial content should be banned from Facebook. (Source: CNN)

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that while he finds Holocaust denial "deeply offensive," he doesn't believe that such content should be banned from Facebook.

    More >>

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that while he finds Holocaust denial "deeply offensive," he doesn't believe that such content should be banned from Facebook.

    More >>
  • Round 2 for Trump-Putin: A fall invite amid summit mop-up

    Round 2 for Trump-Putin: A fall invite amid summit mop-up

    Thursday, July 19 2018 12:30 AM EDT2018-07-19 04:30:42 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:16 PM EDT2018-07-19 23:16:16 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Looking on is Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat...(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Looking on is Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat...

    Trump said Wednesday he told the Russian president face-to-face during Monday's summit to stay out of America's elections "and that's the way it's going to be."

    More >>

    Trump said Wednesday he told the Russian president face-to-face during Monday's summit to stay out of America's elections "and that's the way it's going to be."

    More >>
Powered by Frankly