Louisiana Police Say White Man Had Racial Motivations For Murdering Two Black Men

Louisiana Police Say White Man Had Racial Motivations For Murdering Two Black Men

Here's why Kenneth Gleason has not yet been charged with murder.

Published September 18th

Police in Louisiana are holding a 23-year-old white man in custody for the unprovoked killings of two Black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last week. Although the suspect, who was first arrested on drug charges, is a person of interest, he has not yet been charged for the murders due to lack of evidence, Baton Rouge Sgt. L'Jean Mckneely told the Associated Press.

The suspect, Kenneth Gleason, is believed to have been involved in the likely racially motivated slayings, reported the Associated Press. In both shootings, the men were shot from a gunman who sat in a car. Then when the victims fell to the ground, the suspect walked up to the men and fired again.

"The victims were ... ambushed," Mckneely told the Associated Press. "There is a strong possibility that it could be racially motivated."

The first shooting, which occurred Tuesday night, took the life of 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, who has homeless at the time. The second took place about five miles away on Thursday. Donald Smart, 49, was gunned down while walking to his job as a dishwasher, Mckneely said.

Gleason was first arrested when detectives searched his home on Saturday and found nine grams of marijuana and vials of testosterone, according to a police document.

Mckneely said shell casings from the shootings and a car belonging to Gleason that fit the description of the vehicle used in the killings linked him to the crime. Authorities had collected other circumstantial evidence, yet Mckeenly did not go into detail. 

Neither victim had any prior relationship with Gleason. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office)

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