Fight taken outdoors, but shooting ensues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE – St. John Parish Sheriff’s detectives are seeking a suspect in a second shooting with a connection to Club Fusion on Airline Highway in LaPlace, which occurred early Sunday morning.

Maj. Michael Tregre reported that the sheriff’s office was notified of a shooting at the night spot at about 12:28 a.m. Sunday. The shooting victim, Ronald Ellis, 32, of LaPlace, had already been transported by private vehicle to River Parishes Hospital, by the time officers arrived.

Tregre said witnesses at the scene identified Jaevon Johnson, 20, of LaPlace, as the prime suspect in the shooting, and a warrant was issued against Johnson, charging him with attempted second-degree murder.

Tregre added that according to these witnesses, bad blood had developed earlier between Johnson and Ellis.

Ellis’s 24-year-old stepdaughter was allegedly the target of Johnson in an attempted shooting a week earlier, according to Tregre, but she was not injured.

However, when the woman confronted Johnson inside Club Fusion, Ellis intervened and an argument developed into a fight. Club management threw out the pair, but the fight continued, ending when Johnson pulled a gun and fired upon Ellis.

The bullet passed through Ellis’s abdomen, causing entrance and exit wounds. He

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is under care at River Parishes Hospital’s intensive care unit in stable condition.

The club gained notoriety through the Byron Davis drive-by homicide back in January in Reserve. Six suspects have since been rounded up, the last in mid-February.

Jones linked the shooting to an ongoing problem with St. John Parish administration, which he said routinely rubber-stamp applications for liquor licenses to open what he called “fly-by-night barrooms.”

Those bars, Jones added, are usually open only a few months and encourage underage drinking and access to drugs, which contributes to the violence on the streets.

Club management, however, allege they are unfairly persecuted and that police are unresponsive when called for trouble at the clubs.