After bouncing in and out of police custody late last week, Kenneth Gleason was finally arrested by Baton Rouge law enforcement and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two black men and for shooting at the home of a black family.
The 23-year-old was arrested Tuesday (Sept. 19) just before interim police chief Jonny Dunnam held a press conference. “I feel confident that this killer would have killed again,” Dunnam said.
When asked if the killings were racially motivated, Sgt L’Jean McKneely said investigators were still exploring that option, despite having found a copy of an Adolf Hitler speech in Gleason’s home during a search. “We’re not completely closed off to that. We’re looking at all possibilities at this time, so we’re not going to just pinpoint that,” said McKneely.
According to The Guardian, the first shooting happened Sept. 12, when Gleason shot and killed 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, who was homeless. Gleason’s second victim was 49-year-old Donald Smart, who was shot and killed while walking to his job as a dishwasher at a popular café on Thursday (Sept. 14). It’s reported that Gleason didn’t know either victim and shot both from his car, then walked up to them, shooting them multiple times.
At this time, it’s believed Gleason also didn’t know the owners of the home he shot at; thankfully no one there was hurt. District attorney Hillar Moore said his office may seek the death penalty.
“It appears to be cold, calculated, planned [against] people who were unarmed and defenseless,” he said. “We don’t need to prove motive. There are a lot of things that are unanswered.”