“The pastor of an Algiers church who shot at two copper burglars, striking one of the burglars in the head, was arrested Thursday.
The pastor, 62-year-old William Littleton, was arrested on one count of aggravated battery by shooting.
The shooting happened about 5:10 p.m. Wednesday in the 1200 block of Vallette Street.
Detectives said the pastor shot at two burglars attempting to steal copper from the church’s air-conditioning system.
One of the alleged burglars, identified as 50-year-old Rodney Mitchell, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was transported to the hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.
The other suspect, 34-year-old Joseph Cross, wasn’t injured in the shooting and was arrested on a theft charge.
According to the New Orleans Police Department, Littleton served as a New Orleans police officer from 1974 to 1983.
The city’s Civil Service Commission reports Littleton resigned for “unspecified health reasons.”
Eyewitnesses told WDSU they heard at least eight shots.
“I actually saw the pastor shooting at the getaway vehicle,” said one witness who didn’t want to be identified.
When asked if he thought the shooting was justified, the witness said yes.
“If he didn’t do what he did, they would have just robbed someone else,” the man said.
During an unrelated news conference Thursday afternoon, Chief Michael Harrison addressed the shooting after there were numerous calls for the department to file charges against the pastor over concerns he went too far.
“All of those are facts that still come out in the investigation. I think its premature to go into that, so because it is ongoing, I’ll leave that for the investigation to reveal,” said Harrison.
Harrison said the case will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office.”