[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Louisiana Police are looking for two teen brothers who were allegedly responsible for a Memorial Day pool party shooting in Baton Rouge that claimed three lives — including the life of a baby girl.
According to reports, 18-month-old Ja’Tyri “JT” Brown (pictured above), 17-year-old Dwayne Dunn, Jr., and 20-year-old Reginald Thomas were killed by gunfire in the incident on May 31 that reportedly stemmed from a fight at the party.
Police said that Dunn and Thomas were shot by the two suspects, while Ja’Tyri was struck by a stray bullet. The shooting was planned, officials noted, but a motive has not been publicly disclosed. Investigators say they have surveillance footage of the shooting that shows the two brothers fleeing the scene.
Although the suspects are still at large, officials have cuffed three people for their alleged connection to the murders — including the 36-year-old mother of the two suspected gunmen. During a press conference Tuesday, authorities announced they had arrested Latoya Coleman, the mother of 19-year-old David Williams and a second juvenile suspect who authorities believe fled to Texas.
Investigators claimed one of the suspects called Coleman right after the shooting and explained the situation; they alleged that Coleman admitted to helping the teen suspects escape during an interview with police on June 8. She has been charged with two counts as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
Detectives have also arrested Christopher Stovall, 23, as a principal to three counts of first-degree murder, and a 15-year-old Darrell Edwards as a principal to three counts of first-degree murder; he was also charged with illegal use of a weapon. Police said Stovall and Edwards knew about the shooting beforehand, and helped Williams and his brother evade arrest afterwards.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said more arrests were underway at Tuesday’s presser, noting that as many as six people in total face charges.
As the hunt continues, the victims’ loved ones are reeling over their senseless deaths. Relatives of JT spoke to WBRZ, telling the station that the little girl died in her father’s arms. George Provost, the toddler’s grandfather, said:
“[She] Died in my son’s arms. My wife, we’re grieving. My son is distraught. My whole family is torn apart.”
Provost went on to condemn public leaders for not doing enough to curb the crime problem in Baton Rouge, musing:
“There’s no resources for our young guys now. There’s nothing else to do. If you don’t have resources or exposure but to anything but violence and foolery, that’s all you’ll know.”
A day earlier, Hope Provost, George’s wife, spoke with the station, too, saying of the devastating incident:
“[JT] didn’t die in an accident, she didn’t die because she was sick, somebody took her from me, they murdered my grandbaby.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover JT’s funeral costs. If you want to donate, click here.
Our hearts go out to all the victims’ families at this difficult time.
[Image via GoFundMe]