Plumb­ing com­pany owner charged in 3 slay­ings

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - — Post­media Net­work

CLIN­TON, La. — In a string of at­tacks that be­gan in July, a plumb­ing com­pany owner killed three men and wounded a fourth, shoot­ing all of the men at their homes or on their prop­erty in a ru­ral area north of Ba­ton Rouge, au­thor­i­ties said.

The slay­ings put the area on edge for weeks. The lat­est killing oc­curred Mon­day when au­thor­i­ties said Brad DeFranceschi was gunned down while the Boy Scouts em­ployee trimmed weeds in front of his house.

DeFranceschi lives on Boy Scouts camp prop­erty in Clin­ton, a town of 1,600 peo­ple about 50 km from the state cap­i­tal.

Au­thor­i­ties an­nounced the ar­rest of Ryan Sharpe, 36, late Wed­nes­day. He is charged with three counts of first-de­gree mur­der and one count of at­tempted first-de­gree mur­der.

DeFranceschi was the fourth mid­dle-aged or older white man to be shot at their homes or on their prop­erty since July. East Ba­ton Rouge Sher­iff Sid Gautreaux would not com­ment on a pos­si­ble mo­tive or say whether Sharpe, also a white man, knew the vic­tims.

Asked by a re­porter if Sharpe was a “se­rial killer,” Gautreaux said, “No, but I mean it could be cat­e­go­rized as any­thing, re­ally. We’ve been open-minded in this whole in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

“Our ci­ti­zens can rest easy tonight know­ing that we are con­fi­dent we have the right per­son,” the sher­iff added.

East Feli­ciana Parish Sher­iff Jeff Travis said Sharpe con­fessed when in­ves­ti­ga­tors ques­tioned him af­ter his ar­rest, but the sher­iff didn’t elab­o­rate.

De­tec­tives found “sig­nif­i­cant phys­i­cal ev­i­dence” link­ing Sharpe to the shoot­ings, Travis said. The Louisiana State Po­lice crime lab matched bul­lets found at two of the shoot­ing scenes, ac­cord­ing to a sher­iff’s of­fice re­port.

Tommy Bass, 62, was killed in his car­port on July 8 at his East Feli­ciana Parish home. Buck Hornsby, 47, was wounded while ex­er­cis­ing on his prop­erty on Sept. 12 in Clin­ton. Car­roll Bree­den, 66, was shot to death on Sept. 19 while do­ing yard work at his home in Pride.

One of Sharpe’s neigh­bours said he stopped by last week — four days be­fore the lat­est slay­ing — to bor­row her hus­band’s weld­ing hel­met. She said she never felt un­com­fort­able around him.

“He al­ways had friends around,” Traci An­des, 46, said. “They would have BBQs, craw­fish boils. Just your nor­mal peo­ple.”

Af­ter the most re­cent shoot­ing, An­des told her hus­band she would bring her gun out­side the next time he cut their grass and stand watch over the street that runs past their home.

“Ev­ery­body was scared. Even me. I didn’t want to check my mail­box,” she said. “Ev­ery­body has been on high alert.”

Sharpe lived off a dirt road in a heav­ily wooded area. At the gate en­trance to his home, there is a “No Tres­pass­ing” sign, warn­ing that vi­o­la­tors will be shot and “sur­vivors will be shot again.”

SHARPE Knew vic­tims?

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