BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The two Southern University students slain during a shootout at an off-campus party appeared to be “innocent bystanders” who were caught in the crossfire, authorities said Monday.
A former Southern University football player remained jailed on charges he traded gunfire with another man in a shootout that killed the two 19-year-old women, both members of the Baton Rouge school’s athletic program.
State District Court Judge Beau Higginbotham ordered Ernest Bernard Felton, 22, of Miami, held on $90,000 bond, according to East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III.
A witness told investigators that Felton initiated the shooting outside an apartment complex where Felton and others were holding a party early Sunday, according to a police report.
Lashuntae Benton, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Annette January, of Gary, Indiana, were killed during the exchange of gunfire between Felton and a 24-year-old man who was wounded in the shootout, said Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola said. It appears the women were “innocent bystanders,” he said.
Felton was arrested Sunday on charges of attempted second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon in the shooting of the 24-year-old man, whose wounds weren’t considered life-threatening.
Investigators were awaiting results of ballistic analysis to determine who’s responsible for fatally shooting the women. The 24-year-old man remained hospitalized Monday, Coppola said.
Autopsies performed on Monday showed Benton was shot once in her head and once in her left arm, while January had a single gunshot wound to her chest, said East Baton Rouge Parish coroner William “Beau” Clark.
People were gathered at a party at the apartment complex near LSU’s campus when the 24-year-old man pulled up to the complex in a Chevrolet Cobalt, the police report says. Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a previous dispute.
A witness told police Felton fired a handgun at the sedan as …read more