The late East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church pastor, Rev. Ronald K. Mouton, was fatally shot in the chest last Friday after an argument with another driver that lasted just 10 seconds along the Gulf Freeway in Houston, Texas, police revealed Wednesday.
Investigators from the Houston Police Department said surveillance video from the incident shows the pastor, who was driving a BMW, and his suspected killer, who was driving a black Honda Accord, stopped along the freeway before the shooting, KPRC reported.
Police say the two appeared to argue for about 10 seconds before the driver of the Honda shot the pastor in the chest and caused him to crash his vehicle.
Mouton, 58, crashed shortly after 5 p.m. at 6400 Gulf Freeway near Gould Street along the southbound lanes police. The pastor leaves behind his wife, four children and 10 grandchildren.
Police say surveillance video also shows several vehicles stopped behind the two cars. Investigators hope that someone may have seen the suspect or the suspect’s license plate.
During a press conference held at East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday, faith leaders, elected officials and Mouton’s family members called on his killer to come forward and take responsibility for the murder.
Authorities also announced that a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect had been increased from $5,000 to $25,000.
“We’re not looking for revenge ... but I think there is something we are owed, and that is justice,” the late pastor’s twin brother, Roland Mouton, who is a pastor in Louisiana, said at the press conference, according to The Houston Chronicle.
“If you got a heart, if you got a conscience, ease our hurt and help us take away our anger and give us the justice that we deserve.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who asked everyone at the press conference to face the pulpit and honor the late pastor with a moment of silence, said there were not enough words to express the magnitude of the loss felt by Mouton’s family and wider community as a result of his death.
“I want the community to know the magnitude of our loss. It is unspeakable. It cannot be defined. It cannot be crafted, it cannot be described and it cannot fit inside this room,” Jackson Lee said.
“You killed a pastor, a person whose every (instinct) is to come to you in your time of need,” she continued, aiming her comments at the unidentified killer. “You have taken that away from the membership of the East Bethel Baptist Church.”
Crime Stoppers of Houston pledged a $15,000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest. Billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta also pledged an additional $10,000 towards the reward on Wednesday morning, HPD officials said.
At 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, faith leaders, family members and other community members are expected to hold a prayer march for justice at Palm Center. A celebration of Mouton’s life will occur at Community of Faith Church on July 8, while East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church is expected to host another memorial service for Mouton on July 9.
Anyone with information that can help with the arrest of the suspect is asked to call HPD or Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477). Information can be submitted online or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app.