On Sunday, Baton Rouge police announced Kenneth Gleason, a White 23-year-old dishwasher, as their suspect in the killings of two Black men last week. 59-year-old Bruce Cofield who was homeless, was fatally shot last Tuesday night. Just two days later, 49-year-old Donald Smart was shot to death as he was walking to his job at a cafe.
“I’m feeling down and depressed,” Smart’s aunt told The New York Daily News over the phone on Sunday. “My nephew, I love him, and he was on his way to work and that makes it so sad. He was always smiling and hugging everybody. A lot of people knew him.”
Authorities are detaining Gleason on drug charges after finding marijuana and vials of human growth hormone inside his home. Slate reports police also found a copy of a Hitler speech in his home.
They don’t yet have sufficient evidence to hold him on the murder charges. Gleason lives 10 miles away from where the killings took place.
Police say shell casings found at the scene of both crimes appear to be from the same gun and the vehicle Gleason drives matches the description of that which cops are looking for. They won’t reveal the other evidence linking him to the crime nor did they discuss what initially led them to identify him as a suspect.
“There is a strong possibility that it could be racially motivated,” Baton Rouge Sergeant L’Jean Mckneely said.
Gleason was also a person of interest in which shots were fired at the home of a Black family in his neighborhood.