Racist Suspect Arrested in Connection with Murder of 2 Black Men Ambushed in Baton Rouge Over their Skin Color

From [HERE] Racial motives were probably involved in the shooting deaths of two black men in Baton Rouge, La., last week, the police said Sunday. In each case, a gunman fired from a car, then walked up and fired more shots at the victims as they lay on the ground.

A 23-year-old white man, Kenneth Gleason, is in custody in connection with the case, but is being held on drug charges, Sgt. L’Jean McKneely of the Baton Rouge police said, because investigators had not yet gathered enough evidence to charge him with murder.

Sergeant McKneely said the two victims had been “ambushed,” and that “there is a strong possibility that it could be racially motivated.”

In both shootings, the gunman fired from his car then walked up to the victims as they were lying on the ground and fired again multiple times.

The suspect, Kenneth Gleason, was arrested after detectives say they found illegal drugs while searching his home, CBS affiliate WAFB-TV reports.

Neither victim was known to have had any relationship with Mr. Gleason. But Sergeant McKneely said a car Mr. Gleason owned fit the description of the vehicle used in each killing, and that shell casings were found that linked the two killings.

The shootings happened two days and about five miles apart. Bruce Cofield, a 59-year-old homeless man, was killed Tuesday night, the sergeant said. Donald Smart, 49, was shot Thursday night while he was walking to his job as a dishwasher at a cafe popular with Louisiana State University students.

McKneely said shell casings from the shootings linked the two slayings and a car belonging to Gleason fit the description of the vehicle police were looking for. He said police collected other circumstantial evidence but he wouldn't say what it was.

Detectives searched the suspect’s home on Saturday and found nine grams of marijuana and vials of human growth hormone at his house, according to a police document. The document said that after Mr. Gleason was read his Miranda rights, he claimed ownership of the drugs.

The city’s population is about 55 percent black and 40 percent white.