WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Crime Crime en-us Copyright 2021, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 17 Jun 2021 HH:06:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Amazon investing $200M into new facility at former Cortana Mall site https://www.wbrz.com/news/amazon-investing-200m-into-new-facility-at-former-cortana-mall-site/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/amazon-investing-200m-into-new-facility-at-former-cortana-mall-site/ Crime Wed, 16 Jun 2021 9:24:56 AM WBRZ Staff Amazon investing $200M into new facility at former Cortana Mall site

BATON ROUGE – Amazon expects its latest development in the capital area, located at the former site of the shuttered Cortana Mall, will create more than 1,000 jobs. 

On Wednesday, officials with the state and Amazon detailed the online retail giant's $200 million investment in redeveloping the former Cortana Mall site into a new robotics fulfillment center. The company anticipates the new facility will create about 1,000 jobs employed directly by Amazon and hundreds more indirect jobs.

The announcement comes amid a boom in warehouse construction tied to Amazon on either side of the river. Before the new Baton Rouge warehouse facility opens, Amazon already employs more than 1,500 full and part-time workers in Louisiana.

Amazon has already invested more than $250 million in Louisiana since 2010.  There is already a warehouse in Baton Rouge off Siegen Lane and an ongoing construction project in West Baton Rouge.  There are ongoing projects in the New Orleans and Lafayette areas, too.

At Cortana, Amazon plans to transform into a 3 million-square-foot, five-level fulfillment center. The warehouse could create up to 1,000 jobs.


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Nursing home employees allegedly swindled up to $30K out of veteran https://www.wbrz.com/news/nursing-home-employees-allegedly-swindled-up-to-30k-out-of-veteran/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/nursing-home-employees-allegedly-swindled-up-to-30k-out-of-veteran/ Crime Wed, 16 Jun 2021 6:59:53 PM WBRZ Staff Nursing home employees allegedly swindled up to $30K out of veteran

PLAQUEMINE - Three people are facing charges after a military veteran living at a nursing home was defrauded out of as much as $30,000.

Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives responded to an unrelated incident at the Legacy Nursing Home when they found the victim’s debit card in another resident’s possession. The victim, who is also a resident at the nursing home, said his debit card had been missing since March.

Detectives learned two employees, Heather Sylvia and Shedrick Bosley, were using the card without the victim's consent. Deputies said their spending, most of which was made in cash withdrawals, could total as much as $20,000-30,000.

A third person, Ashley Martin, was charged in the fraud investigation and issued a misdemeanor summons as a principal to access device fraud. 

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.


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Three teens charged in Baton Rouge gunfight that killed 16-year-old https://www.wbrz.com/news/three-teens-charged-in-baton-rouge-gunfight-that-killed-16-year-old/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/three-teens-charged-in-baton-rouge-gunfight-that-killed-16-year-old/ Crime Wed, 16 Jun 2021 9:50:27 AM WBRZ Staff Three teens charged in Baton Rouge gunfight that killed 16-year-old

BATON ROUGE - Three people are facing criminal charges after a teenager was shot to death during a gun battle outside an apartment complex last month.

Jesse Harris, 18, and two juvenile suspects, ages 15 and 16, were arrested in the May 23 shooting. The other suspects were booked into juvenile jail and were not identified due to their age.

A report from the Baton Rouge Police Department said police found the teen sitting in a black Honda Accord on Sharp Lane, severely wounded from a gunshot. The victim, 16-year-old Joseph Antoine, died in the hospital several days later.

Police were able to identify Harris as a suspect after combing through video surveillance and speaking with eyewitnesses.

Investigators learned the gunfire erupted after the black Honda passed by a crowd, and a passenger in the rear of the car fired shots at those people. Police said Harris and another person in the crowd fired at the vehicle when it drove past them again. 

Harris was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. The 16-year-old suspect is facing nine counts of attempted second-degree murder, and the 15-year-old is charged with second-degree murder.


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Mother arrested after 19-month-old child rushed to hospital for drug overdose https://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-arrested-after-19-month-old-child-rushed-to-hospital-for-drug-overdose-143452/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-arrested-after-19-month-old-child-rushed-to-hospital-for-drug-overdose-143452/ Crime Tue, 15 Jun 2021 2:56:04 PM WBRZ Staff Mother arrested after 19-month-old child rushed to hospital for drug overdose

BATON ROUGE - A woman was arrested after her 19-month-old allegedly ingested heroin and had to be taken to a hospital for emergency treatment. 

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said Lelia Brooke Strain was booked into jail Monday. Deputies were contacted after the child tested positive for opioids in his system at a hospital and given narcan, a drug used to treat opioid overdoses. 

Strain, the child's mother, was taken into custody and questioned by sheriff's deputies. She told investigators she believed the toddler consumed heroin that had been left at her house by a friend.

Strain also admitted to deputies that she had used heroin just days and taken unprescribed aderol. She added that she had also breastfed her child during that period. 

Strain was booked into the the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for cruelty to a juvenile. 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the suspect and used an incorrect booking photo. 


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Man allegedly stabbed his brother to death during fight over drugs https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-allegedly-stabbed-his-brother-to-death-during-fight-over-drugs/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-allegedly-stabbed-his-brother-to-death-during-fight-over-drugs/ Crime Tue, 15 Jun 2021 2:30:49 PM WBRZ Staff Man allegedly stabbed his brother to death during fight over drugs

DONALDSONVILLE - A man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly murdered his brother during an argument over illicit drugs in Ascension Parish.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said the killing happened around in the area of W Second Street and Pine Street in Donaldsonville. 

Around 1 a.m., deputies said they received a walk-in complaint from 44-year-old Christopher Brooks, who said he got into a deadly confrontation with his brother, 31-year-old Frank Brooks IV. Brooks told deputies he and his brother were fighting over synthetic marijuana, also known as "mojo," when he grabbed a knife and stabbed his brother six times.

Christopher Brooks was taken into custody and booked on a charge of second-degree murder. 


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Man accused of burglarizing vehicles in parking lot of Hyatt Place hotel https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-burglarizing-vehicles-in-parking-lot-of-hyatt-place-hotel/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-burglarizing-vehicles-in-parking-lot-of-hyatt-place-hotel/ Crime Tue, 15 Jun 2021 9:41:27 AM WBRZ Staff Man accused of burglarizing vehicles in parking lot of Hyatt Place hotel

UPDATE: A judge has dismissed 28 of the 29 charges against West, citing insufficient evidence tying him to those crimes.

Read the original story below.

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BATON ROUGE - Authorities in Baton Rouge say the burglar who targeted automobiles parked at a local extended stay hotel has been arrested.

According to official records from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, 22-year-old Dajon West was nabbed in connection with the February 15, 2020 incident during which a total of 29 vehicles were reportedly broken into at the Hyatt Place hotel on Bluebonnet Boulevard.

Each of the vandalized automobiles had shattered windows, and a gun was stolen from one vehicle.

Officials say traces of blood found at the crime scene were analyzed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, and the results led authorities directly to West.

West was already in the system, authorities say, due to a previous charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.

According to official records, West ended up being arrested twice for the February 2020 Hyatt Place incident.

He was initially apprehended and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on June 23, 2020, but for only one charge of vehicle burglary.

He bonded out before authorities were able to pin the other 28 vehicle burglaries to him, records indicate.

Once West was tied to the remaining 28 break-ins and his arrest approved, he was nabbed on June 14, 2021 and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison a second time.


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Teen's body found near interstate following crash overnight https://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-s-body-found-near-interstate-following-crash-overnight/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-s-body-found-near-interstate-following-crash-overnight/ Crime Sat, 12 Jun 2021 1:27:55 PM WBRZ Staff Teen's body found near interstate following crash overnight

BATON ROUGE - A teenager's body was found among the wreckage of a vehicle that crashed on Saturday. Police originally thought he was on his way to the hospital after being shot when the car crashed, but autopsy results showed he did not have any gunshot wounds. 

Baton Rouge Police said Saturday, detectives are investigating the death of Cornell McDuffey, 18, after McDuffey's body was found in a grassy area along I-10 East near Essen Lane overnight.

Information gathered from police indicates McDuffey and three others were in a vehicle driving down the interstate after McDuffey was thought to have been shot on Balis Drive. As the vehicle approached Essen Lane, the driver lost control of the car resulting in a crash, police said.

Police responding to the wreck found McDuffey's body along the interstate and three people running from the crash scene. Two of the three people were captured and detained but are not being cooperative, police said. They were not identified.

A weapon was found at the scene and collected as evidence and BRPD will continue to investigate the shooting. 

Police responded to the crash scene around 11:30 Friday night.

Police said the entire incident is still under investigation.


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Woman allegedly set relatives' home on fire after they tried to make her leave https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-set-relatives-home-on-fire-after-they-tried-to-make-her-leave/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-set-relatives-home-on-fire-after-they-tried-to-make-her-leave/ Crime Fri, 11 Jun 2021 6:02:21 PM WBRZ Staff Woman allegedly set relatives' home on fire after they tried to make her leave

PONCHATOULA - A woman was arrested after she allegedly set fire to her relatives' home when they tried to kick her out.

The state fire marshal's office said deputies investigated the home on Crown Drive in Ponchatoula on June 7 and determined Savannah Scariano, 25, started the fire.

Deputies said the homeowners were allowing Scariano to stay at their house, but they got into an argument earlier that day after her family members tried to make her leave. Everyone left the property shortly after the confrontation, but the homeowners were alerted to a fire at the house less than an hour later.

Scariano was arrested after she told deputies she started the fire in the home's utility room.

Deputies booked Scariano into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on one count of simple arson.


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Man shot to death while sitting in vehicle near Baton Rouge convenience store https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-shot-to-death-while-sitting-in-vehicle-near-baton-rouge-convenience-store/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-shot-to-death-while-sitting-in-vehicle-near-baton-rouge-convenience-store/ Crime Fri, 11 Jun 2021 3:38:15 PM WBRZ Staff Man shot to death while sitting in vehicle near Baton Rouge convenience store

BATON ROUGE - A man died Thursday night after he was shot while sitting in his car outside a convenience store. 

The Baton Rouge Police Department said the shooting happened around 11:16 p.m. on N Foster Drive near Choctaw Drive.

Police said Darrian Carter, 23, was shot in his vehicle and died at the scene. 

The department is looking for a potential suspect and motive in the killing. Police are asking anyone with information to contact (225)389-4869.


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Controversial pastor Tony Spell ticketed for shooting alligator outside church https://www.wbrz.com/news/controversial-pastor-tony-spell-ticketed-for-shooting-alligator-outside-church/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/controversial-pastor-tony-spell-ticketed-for-shooting-alligator-outside-church/ Crime Fri, 11 Jun 2021 12:43:06 PM Jeremy Krail Controversial pastor Tony Spell ticketed for shooting alligator outside church

CENTRAL - Pastor Tony Spell, who made a name for himself by violating safety regulations during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, was ticketed this past week for killing an alligator near his church.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Spell shot the animal behind the Life Tabernacle Church in Central on June 5. The agency was notified about the incident after Spell posted photos of the dead gator on social media.

Agents found Spell in possession of the six-foot gator and seized it. Spell was cited for harvesting an alligator during a closed season and for keeping it without a license or tag.

Taking a gator during a closed season and without a tag carries a fine of $400 to $950 and 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking an alligator without a license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Spell may also have to pay $375.80 in restitution for the "replacement value" of the dead gator.


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Authorities arrest second man in alleged Dept of Education fraud, money-laundering scheme https://www.wbrz.com/news/authorities-arrest-second-man-in-alleged-dept-of-education-fraud-money-laundering-scheme/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/authorities-arrest-second-man-in-alleged-dept-of-education-fraud-money-laundering-scheme/ Crime Fri, 11 Jun 2021 12:03:12 PM WBRZ Staff Authorities arrest second man in alleged Dept of Education fraud, money-laundering scheme

BATON ROUGE - Authorities have arrested a second man in connection with an alleged fraud and money-laundering scheme that they believe was led by a former Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) employee. 

According to an arrest report, both Romney Manuel and Manuel's cousin, 46-year-old Demietriek Scott, were arrested in connection with the alleged plot. 

The report says Manuel, a former program consultant with LDOE, used a series of programming techniques to steal money from the system and then took extensive measures to try and cover his trail.

It alleges that Scott participated in the scheme by helping to deposit illegally obtained LDOE funds into a Capital One bank account that belonged to Scott. 

According to the report, the two cousins had business and financial ties. 

Officials say the total of illegally obtained funds that were deposited into Scott's bank account amounted to $74,250.

Scott was arrested and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges that included theft, computer fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.


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Teen suspect jailed without bond in triple murder case https://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-suspect-jailed-without-bond-in-triple-murder-case/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-suspect-jailed-without-bond-in-triple-murder-case/ Crime Fri, 11 Jun 2021 10:37:57 AM Jeremy Krail Teen suspect jailed without bond in triple murder case

BATON ROUGE - A 15-year-old accused in a triple shooting that left a toddler and two other people dead last week will remain jailed without bond, a judge ordered Friday.

That decision was made during LeDarrius Coleman's first court appearance related to the May 31 triple murder. The judge cited the nature of Coleman's charges as reason to hold the teenager without bond.

The East Baton Rouge district attorney has not decided whether Coleman will face charges as an adult.

Coleman and his brother, 19-year-old David Williams, allegedly shot at least two of the victims when gunfire broke out at the pool area of the Fairway View apartments on College Drive. The suspects' mother, Latoya Coleman, drove the two alleged shooters out of the state after the murders so they could avoid capture. 

Coleman's detention hearing was also reassigned to July 19.


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Police: Man dies after going on drug-fueled rampage at Baton Rouge restaurant https://www.wbrz.com/news/police-man-dies-after-going-on-drug-fueled-rampage-at-baton-rouge-restaurant/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/police-man-dies-after-going-on-drug-fueled-rampage-at-baton-rouge-restaurant/ Crime Thu, 10 Jun 2021 3:07:50 PM WBRZ Staff Police: Man dies after going on drug-fueled rampage at Baton Rouge restaurant

BATON ROUGE - A man died at the hospital after he allegedly went on a bizarre tirade at a restaurant Wednesday afternoon. 

The Baton Rouge Police Department said the incident happened around 2:47 at the Wing Stop on Florida Boulevard. Officers said the "erratic behavior" of that individual caused employees to flee their work area.

When police arrived, they found the partially clothed man had ransacked the restaurant and appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.

Police said he was taken to hospital to seek treatment for his medical condition but later died.

Officials are still working to identify the man. 


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Mother of teen charged in triple murder says son did not own a gun https://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-of-teen-charged-in-triple-murder-says-son-did-not-own-a-gun/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-of-teen-charged-in-triple-murder-says-son-did-not-own-a-gun/ Crime Wed, 9 Jun 2021 4:51:04 PM Chris Nakamoto Mother of teen charged in triple murder says son did not own a gun

BATON ROUGE - The 15-year-old accused in a triple murder last week that left a toddler dead appeared in a juvenile courtroom Wednesday where his name was released.

Darrell Edwards is charged with three counts of principal to first-degree murder and illegal discharge of a firearm.

"He's never been in any trouble," his mother Danielle Edwards said.

Juvenile court cases are kept secret in nearly all circumstances unless a juvenile is arrested for committing a crime of violence.

Edwards' mother said he was at his sister's apartment on Memorial Day and decided to go for a swim when the gunfire erupted.

"My son was just there at the pool at the time," Edwards said. "When the incident happened, he had no knowledge that these guys were about to do whatever they did. He was just there."

Baton Rouge Police have not released specific details about the role Edwards played in the murders. However, no one disputes that he was there when the shooting took place.

"He was there," his mom Danielle said. "He was standing by the gate when this happened, but he had no knowledge that this was about to happen. He was just there. He was getting ready to get in the pool."

Familiar with the impact on how violent crime impacts families, Edwards had a message for the suspects that remain on the run tonight.

"I just ask that y'all that did the shooting please turn yourselves in," Edwards said. "It was an innocent baby that got killed. Turn yourselves in... please. Please. Please. I'm hurting. My family is hurting behind all of this. I had a daughter and grandchild get killed in 2019 by this same senseless stuff. Just turn yourselves in please."

Edwards told WBRZ her son did not own a gun. Edwards had just turned 15 at the end of February. District Attorney Hillar Moore said it's still too early to tell if he'll be tried as an adult.


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Police: 15-year-old among latest arrests in BR triple murder; sixth suspect still wanted https://www.wbrz.com/news/police-15-year-old-among-latest-arrests-in-br-triple-murder-sixth-suspect-still-wanted/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/police-15-year-old-among-latest-arrests-in-br-triple-murder-sixth-suspect-still-wanted/ Crime Thu, 10 Jun 2021 10:30:32 AM Jeremy Krail Police: 15-year-old among latest arrests in BR triple murder; sixth suspect still wanted

Six people are facing criminal charges related to a deadly shooting that broke out at a Baton Rouge apartment complex pool on Memorial Day. That shooting left three people dead: a toddler, a teenager and one adult.

Arrest records said three male suspects entered the pool area of the Fairway View apartments May 31, and a confrontation took place that led to the deadly gunfire.

Three people were arrested Tuesday, a little more than a week after the killings happened. The first arrests were that of a 15-year-old and two adults.

Another two suspects were arrested Thursday, two brothers ages 19 and 15. Arrest records suggest the brothers fired gunshots that killed at least two of the three victims. 

Law enforcement officials are still looking for one more suspect, who remains unidentified.

There are six facing charges in total:

Darrell Edwards (15)
-Charged with principal to first-degree murder (3 counts), illegal use of a weapon

Christopher Stovall (23)
-Charged with principal to first-degree murder (3 counts) and illegal use of a weapon
-Allegedly fired gun during confrontation at pool

Latoya Coleman (36)
-Charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder (2 counts)
-Accused of driving her two sons, both suspected in the shooting, to Texas to avoid law enforcement

David Williams (19)
-Charged with first-degree murder (3 counts) and illegal use of a weapon
-Son of Latoya Coleman
-Allegedly shot one of the victims

LeDarrius Coleman (15)
-Charged with first-degree murder (3 counts) and illegal use of a weapon
-Son of Latoya Coleman
-Allegedly shot one of the victims


Police have yet to identify the final suspect involved in the killings.


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Woman allegedly cashed fraudulent checks while wearing boyfriend's police uniform https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-cashed-fraudulent-checks-while-wearing-boyfriend-s-police-uniform/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-cashed-fraudulent-checks-while-wearing-boyfriend-s-police-uniform/ Crime Wed, 9 Jun 2021 2:56:11 PM WBRZ Staff Woman allegedly cashed fraudulent checks while wearing boyfriend's police uniform

BATON ROUGE - A woman was booked into jail after she allegedly cashed stolen checks she got from her friend while dressed in her boyfriend's Baton Rouge Police uniform.

Arrest records said Jessika Dixon, 24, cashed a pair of fraudulent checks totaling $1,435 at a convenience store along Lobdell Boulevard. Police said Dixon got those checks from a friend, 43-year-old Anisha Forbes, who is suspected of stealing them in Livingston Parish.

Surveillance cameras caught both women pulling up outside the store, and Dixon later admitted to signing the checks with the victim's name while dressed in the BRPD uniform. Dixon added that she thought wearing a police uniform would allow her to cash the checks without question.

Forbes told Dixon she needed the money so she could pay off her gambling debts, according to arrest documents. 

Forbes was booked on charges of felony theft, identity theft, and monetary instrument abuse. Dixon was booked on charges of identity theft, forgery, impersonating a police officer, and monetary instrument abuse. 


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Mom helped teen murder suspects flee state; 5 arrested so far in triple killing https://www.wbrz.com/news/mom-helped-teen-murder-suspects-flee-state-5-arrested-so-far-in-triple-killing/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/mom-helped-teen-murder-suspects-flee-state-5-arrested-so-far-in-triple-killing/ Crime Tue, 8 Jun 2021 2:06:48 PM WBRZ Staff Mom helped teen murder suspects flee state; 5 arrested so far in triple killing

BATON ROUGE - Two brothers accused in a shooting that left three people dead, including a toddler, were captured several days after their mother drove them to another state so they could avoid law enforcement.

On Thursday, the Baton Rouge Police Department announced the arrests of David Williams, 19, and his 15-year-old brother, LeDarrius Coleman. Arrest records suggest the brothers fired gunshots that left at least two of the three victims dead.

Earlier this week, police arrested another 15-year-old suspect and two adults in the fatal shooting. The two adults arrested are Latoya Coleman and Christopher Stovall.

Coleman, the mother of Williams and his 15-year-old brother arrested Thursday, is charged as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Stovall is booked as a principal to three counts of first-degree murder. 

A third juvenile, 15-year-old Darrell Edwards, was booked Tuesday as a principal to three counts of first-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon. District Attorney Hillar Moore said he hasn't decided whether the teen will be charged as an adult. 

According to arrest records, video surveillance of the Memorial Day shooting shows the suspects entering Fairway View Apartments pool and lounge area. 

Officials said the suspects then got into a fight with two males who were seated in lounge chairs near the pool.

This is when the deadly shooting occurred, according to the affidavit. The two males were shot and killed, in addition to an 18-month-old child who was caught in the crossfire.

The official report goes on to say that footage from video surveillance shows the suspects fleeing west from the apartments, holding stolen weapons. 

The arrest report adds that immediately after the shooting, one of the suspects allegedly called a family member and explained what happened, plainly stating that he and his brother had just shot two people. The document says the family member confirmed this call with authorities.  

Police go on to say that after gathering more information, they interviewed Coleman on June 8 and while speaking with her, discovered that she helped her two sons flee to Texas after the shooting. She was arrested for her alleged role in helping her sons evade capture. 

The arrests come a little more than a week after the May 31 shooting killed three people:  Ja'tyri "JT" Brown, the toddler, along with a teenager and one adult. 

Police said the child was playing near a pool at the Fairway View apartment complex on College Drive when she was hit by gunfire. Her family said she was just a bystander hit by a stray bullet when the gunmen opened fire in the parking lot. 

Arrest records indicate that Williams' was charged with three counts of first degree murder and illegal use of a weapon. 


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La Dept of Education employee arrested, fired for allegedly stealing over $74k https://www.wbrz.com/news/la-dept-of-education-employee-arrested-fired-for-allegedly-stealing-over-74k/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/la-dept-of-education-employee-arrested-fired-for-allegedly-stealing-over-74k/ Crime Wed, 9 Jun 2021 7:36:28 AM Paula Jones La Dept of Education employee arrested, fired for allegedly stealing over $74k

BATON ROUGE - A former state employee responsible for ensuring that Louisiana's child care providers had the funds necessary to operate amid the pandemic reportedly stole over $74,000 from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), officials say.

According to arrest records, 47-year-old Romney Manuel, a former program consultant with LDOE, allegedly used a series of programming techniques to steal money from the system and then took extensive measures to try and cover his trail.

An affidavit explains Manuel's responsibilities with LDOE saying, "Romney Manuel employed by LDOE in the Office of Early Childhood Operations, was responsible for entering information into the Child Care Provider Grant Trackers System (CCPGTS) and the Tracking Information Payment Systems (TIPS)."

The report continues, "Manuel entered the information required for Type III early learning centers and home-based child care providers to obtain Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) funds allocated through the Federal CARES Act and distributed these funds to childcare providers through Louisiana Child Care Assistance Provider (LACAP) grants intended to sustaine those providers operating during the COVID-19 pandemic." 

However, officials allege that Romney used his position to obtain funds illegally.

The affidavit says that in April, a complaint against Manuel was made, with an unidentified source contacting authorities and telling officials they believed Manuel was committing theft and fraud at the Department of Education.

The tip was taken seriously and Louisiana State Police launched an investigation into the alleged theft.

According to authorities, an investigation revealed that in May of 2020, Manuel allegedly manipulated data in an LDOE computer program to make it look like a child care center that had closed in 1997 was still open and operating. 

Officials say Manuel used this non-existent child care center, called "Nanny's Learning," to obtain a total of $74,250 in funds, money that he allegedly pocketed for himself. 

According to the affidavit, investigators spoke with witnesses who confirmed Manuel's illegal activities, and investigators eventually obtained warrants that allowed for a search of Manuel's home and possessions. 

Upon searching Manuel's devices, investigators say they discovered Manuel was working with a second person named Demietriek Scott to invest stolen funds into a Robinhood Investments account.

Officials indicate Manuel worked with Scott to make the investments in hopes of concealing his criminal activity, thereby laundering funds he'd stolen from LDOE.

The affidavit adds that while officials were searching Manuel's home, they discovered a "clandestine marijuana grow," which Manuel claimed belonged to his son. 

Manuel was arrested on charges of theft, computer fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, filing or maintaining false public records, malfeasance in office, criminal conspiracy, and distribution/manufacturing of Schedule I drugs.

Manuel was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison with a $50,500 bond. 

LDOE confirmed that Manuel has since been fired and is no longer employed by the Department of Education.

LDOE issued the following statement to WBRZ by email, Wednesday:

"We had cause to believe the employee had stolen funds. We notified the appropriate authorities, terminated his employment and he has been arrested. We value the trust of our citizens and look forward to justice being served."


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Road rage altercation leads to deadly shooting outside car wash on Perkins Road https://www.wbrz.com/news/road-rage-altercation-leads-to-deadly-shooting-outside-car-wash-on-perkins-road/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/road-rage-altercation-leads-to-deadly-shooting-outside-car-wash-on-perkins-road/ Crime Mon, 7 Jun 2021 7:28:17 PM Falon Brown Road rage altercation leads to deadly shooting outside car wash on Perkins Road

BATON ROUGE - One man is dead and a second is behind bars after gunfire rang out at a gas station on Perkins Road Monday night, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Police say the deadly shooting occurred around 7 p.m in the parking lot behind the B-Quik in the 4100 block of Perkins Road.

According to authorities, 40-year-old Joseph Tatney was shot multiple times by 19-year-old  Jarmal Jackson following a road rage incident on the interstate. Tatney died at the scene.

Jackson told police the two exchanged words at a red light, and he claimed that he saw Tatney brandish a handgun while stopped at the light. Jackson claimed he was vacuuming his vehicle at Benny's car wash, which shares a parking lot with the gas station, when Tatney pulled up alongside him and confronted him.

Witnesses told police they saw the fight unfold, adding that Tatney punched Jackson twice in the face. Jackson then went to his vehicle and grabbed a handgun.

Arrest records said Jackson stood over Tatney and shot him multiple times.

BRPD officers were at the B-Quik when the shooting happened and apprehended Jackson soon afterward. He told police he became upset and didn't clearly remember his actions after he was punched.

Jackson was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.


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Woman allegedly tried to hit man with her car in hotel parking lot https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-tried-to-hit-man-with-her-car-in-hotel-parking-lot/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-allegedly-tried-to-hit-man-with-her-car-in-hotel-parking-lot/ Crime Mon, 7 Jun 2021 5:21:35 PM WBRZ Staff Woman allegedly tried to hit man with her car in hotel parking lot

BATON ROUGE - A woman struck a parked car as she tried to run over a man in a hotel parking lot Sunday night, according to Baton Rouge Police.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said an officer came across the commotion shortly before 11 o'clock outside the Daymont by Wyndham on Boardwalk Drive after hearing a man's screams and tires screeching.

The officer spotted a car backing up before it accelerated  toward a man in the parking lot. Police reported the car was quickly slamming its brakes as if the driver, identified as Johnell Garza, was trying to hit the victim with the front end of the vehicle. 

Garza exited the car at the officer's request, but she began shouting back and forth with the victim. Once police separated the two, they obtained surveillance video which showed the confrontation, including Garza striking a parked car in the lot while trying to hit the man. 

Garza was arrested and booked on charges of aggravated damage to property and attempted second-degree murder.


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