Checkerz Williams

Christopher "Checkerz" Williams

A man accused of firing a weapon at another driver during a road-rage incident on Interstate 10 in St. James Parish last week is a pastor at a local church.

Christopher "Checkerz" Williams, who was arrested Feb. 11, is listed as the lead pastor at Renew Church in Baton Rouge.

A ministry assistant there said the situation is being "handled internally" by the church. She asked that her name not be used. She said Williams' lawyer had advised him to not speak about the case.

Williams started the church in August 2017 after serving six years as the pastor of Celebration Church in LaPlace.

State Police said Williams, 47, fired a gun at an 18-wheeler on I-10 near the Gramercy exit.

During the investigation, the driver of the tractor trailer told authorities the driver of a Hyundai Sonata — later identified as Williams — had been driving erratically.

After Williams caused a minor crash, he pulled out a handgun and fired a shot at the tractor-trailer, a police report says. Gunfire struck the front of the trailer, and Williams fled.

He was later apprehended and booked on several charges, including aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated criminal damage to property, illegal carrying and discharge of weapons and reckless operation. 

Williams has since been released from the St. James Parish Jail.

The Advocate spoke with Williams in a 2017 interview about the church and its intent to reflect the ever-growing diverse population around it.

"Every person needs to be treated with dignity, respect and with love and compassion regardless of their race, ethnicity, their socio-economic status, religious background or political affiliations," Williams said in the interview.

Williams said he found Christ at age 19. As part of his conversion experience, he eventually turned his back on secular rap music and events that had been a major part of his life. His nickname "Checkerz" came from his stage name as a well-known rapper.

"I started being a street preacher, and I started doing anything and everything I could to take every opportunity to reach people for the gospel," he said.