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11-29-06, 07:56 AM #1
Reverend gets drunk, fires gun, threatens store clerk and kicks Deputy in the groin
POINTE-AUX-CHENES, La. -- Like many of his neighbors, Hubert Champagne said he was stunned to find out that a priest at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church was arrested over the Thanksgiving holidays.
Authorities said the Rev. Joseph Tu Tran fired a rifle in the air, threatened a store clerk and kicked a deputy in the groin.
Across the highway from the church, Darrel and Tracy Champagne have worked to get their house back in order after last year's storms.
They said Tu Tran had just returned from Vietnam.
"He came back from Vietnam from burying his mama. I don't know if it caused him to break down or whatever," Darrell Champagne said.
Authorities said the 51-year-old Tu Tran was highly intoxicated when he went into a convenience store in Bourg on Thanksgiving night carrying a 12-gauge shotgun.
He's accused of threatening a store clerk with a rifle.
Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry J. Larpenter said no one was hurt in the incident.
A deputy was near the store when a shot was fired, and a second clerk called police.
When deputies arrived at the scene, officials said, Tu Tran had put the guns away and told a deputy he wasn't needed.
But according to investigators, when the clerks and a witness confirmed Tu Tran had fired a round into the air just moments before the deputies arrived, authorities placed Tu Tran under arrest, and the priest resisted.
Tu Tran has since been released on $5,000 cash bond.
Diocese officials said they suspected Tu Tran was having problems with alcohol, and they intend to get him treatment.
Gloria Champagne said she'll be back in church on Sunday and hopes to see Tu Tran there.
"He is friendly. He is a very friendly guy, and we need someone like that in this parish," she said.
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