Police on double murder investigation: All resources in play
BATON ROUGE - Crime scene investigators and detectives have worked double shifts, some groups logging nearly two-dozen hours, investigating a high-profile double-murder and shooting.
Sunday, two Southern University students were killed and a third person was shot at the Cottages on Ben Hur. Soon after the shooting, police arrested Ernest Bernard Felton, 22, in connection with the gunfire. Felton is charged with the shooting injury of the lone survivor, Brandon Henderson.
Investigators believe Felton and Henderson, 24, exchanged gunfire and bullets from the men's guns hit all three victims: Henderson, Annette January and Lashuntae Benton. January, a freshman track and field student-athlete and Benton, a sophomore student and athletic trainer, were killed. Henderson is believed to have returned fire after Felton fired first, but police remain uncertain about how the events unfolded.
At the scene, which was processed for hours after the shooting, seasoned investigators looked over everything.
It's a scene that resonated with some of the most seasoned investigators. The outrage, two innocent college students caught in the cross fire of a gun battle between two men.
"A lot of us have college kids," Corporal L'Jean McKneely said. "We took that to heart and put all of our resources in play."
McKneely added the crime hit home with many detectives. They worked without sleeping, the WBRZ Investigative Unit has learned, until they were able to identify those involved. It was witness statements that led to the arrest of Felton. He's from Miami. As WBRZ and WBRZ.com first reported Monday, he's not cooperating with investigators.
"We normally don't spend as much time at scenes, but these detectives have worked 17 hours 20 hours at the scene interviewing folks," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "Just at the crime scene itself they sent three different teams of crime scene investigators."
The situation has left many people near the Cottages with a sense of fear, which is why this case continues to garner the full attention of those tasked with bringing their killer or killers to justice.
"Every case we handle is tragic situation when there is a life is taken," McKneely said. "With students involved, college students, parents afar they bring their kids here and they feel that they are in a safe area, it scares a lot of individuals."
Baton Rouge Police are awaiting ballistics tests to determine which gun led to the deaths of the college students. So far, Henderson has not been charged.
The mothers of both deceased victims spoke with WBRZ reporters in two separate, exclusive interviews Monday. Click HERE for more from the mother of Annette January, a student from Chicago. Click HERE to read more about Lashuntae Benton and her family.