Person of interest in two deadly shootings out on bail
BATON ROUGE - A person of interest in connection with two deadly shootings in Baton Rouge has bonded out of jail Monday.
The first shooting occurred Tuesday night on Florida Boulevard. Bruce Cofield, who was homeless, was found shot multiple times.
The second shooting happened on Thursday night. Donald Smart was found the same way, shot multiple times on Alaska street. Smart was gunned down on his walk to work at the popular LSU diner Louie’s Café.
“The suspect shot the victims once or twice as we know, then got out of the vehicle and shot them multiple times. That's the similarity, and the shell casings in the two shootings are the same,” Sargeant L’Jean Mckneely of BRPD said Sunday.
Police say there is a 'strong possibility' they were racially motivated murders, based on discoveries found inside Gleason’s home. But police didn’t clarify what those discoveries were.
“Completely random, two different locations, the white male suspect, two black male victims. That led to that idea coming out, and through the course of the investigation, other ideas are pointing in that direction,” Mckneely said.
A person of interest in the two murders, 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason, bonded out of jail Monday morning.
He was picked up on drug charges after investigators found marijuana and human growth hormone inside his parent’s Baton Rouge home while executing a search warrant. Gleason didn't come to the door when News 2 knocked on the Sandy Ridge Drive home Monday.
Police said they linked Gleason to the two murders based on evidence found at the crime scenes.
Just two days before police found Bruce Cofield shot to death on Florida Boulevard, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputies responded to a shots fired call at a residence on the same block of Kenneth Gleason's house.
It happened in the early morning around 12:30 a.m. on Monday, September, 11th. No one was home when multiple rounds were fired into the front door of the house just doors down from Gleason’s home.
The shell casings found in the front yard belonged to a 9-millimeter gun, the same caliber weapon used in the murders of Bruce Cofield and Donald Smart. Sheriff’s deputies are investigating to see if Kenneth Gleason is associated with the apparently random shooting.
As of Monday, Baton Rouge Police Public Information Officer Don Coppola said they are not working in conjunction with East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, but still consider Gleason a 'person of interest', noting that his name has 'not been cleared'.
This is developing story and we will continue to bring you the very latest as information comes out.
Donald Smart’s funeral will be on Saturday, September, 23rd.
Louis Café set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral costs. It can be found here. gofundme.com/donald-smart
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