UPDATED: Wednesday, September 20, 8 a.m. ET:
Ending a weeklong manhunt, Baton Rouge police on Tuesday arrested a 23-year-old White man accused of gunning down two unarmed Black men and firing at a Black family’s home in a series of racially motivated attacks, The Associated Press reports.
Kenneth James Gleason was arrested at his home after investigators said surveillance footage and DNA on a shell casing connected him to the crimes, the report says. He faces first-degree murder charges in the shooting deaths of a homeless man and a dishwasher who was walking to work. He is accused of opening fire on the men from his car in separate incidents, then walking up to them and firing at close range, the report says.
Gleason’s attorney said his client denies the charges. Investigators found a handwritten copy of an Adolf Hitler speech at the suspect’s home.
White Male Detained In Baton Rouge Racially Motivated Execution-Style Deaths
Baton Rouge police are questioning a 23-year-old White male in what they believe to be two racially motived killings of Black men, including a dishwasher who was on his way to work at a restaurant popular among Louisiana State University students, according to various media reports.
Kenneth Gleason was arrested Saturday night on numerous counts of drug charges, but authorities do not have enough to charge him in last week’s shooting deaths of two Black pedestrians, Baton Rouge Sgt. L’Jean McKneely tells The Advocate.
“There is a strong possibility that it could be racially motivated,” McKneely said, writes NBC News. Without elaboration about the motive, he told the Associated Press that shell casings from the shootings linked the deaths and Gleason’s car matched the description of the vehicle witnesses saw at the scene.
In both shootings, the suspect reportedly fired from his car, walked up to the victims as they were on the ground and fired again multiple times, The Associated Press writes.
The first victim, Bruce Cofield, 59, believed to be homeless, was shot Tuesday. Donald Smart, 49, who was walking to Louie’s Cafe where he worked for 29 years as a dishwasher, died Thursday of multiple gunshot wounds. Both shootings occurred about five miles apart between 10:45 p.m. and 11:15 p.m ET, the report notes.
Police confiscated less than a gram of marijuana, along with vials of human growth hormone from Gleason’s home, The AP writes. Bond was set for $3,500 on Sunday evening.