Arrest made of bottle-thrower involved in LaPlace shooting

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 18, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A LaPlace man was arrested three days after his alleged involvement in a Greenwood Drive confrontation that left one man dead and four suspects in jail on murder charges.

Chad James Cosse, 32, of 1713 Greenwood St., was arrested and booked with aggravated criminal damage to property after turning himself in to police on Tuesday evening, the St. John Sheriff’s Office said.

Cosse has been accused of throwing a beer bottle at a moving car while he and neighbors gathered in front of their homes for a Saturday night hurricane party.

Cosse’s neighbors have said they were all frustrated due to the excessive speeding down their street, and concerned for the safety of their young children, who were present at the gathering.

Unfortunately, the bottle broke the windshield, and set off a chain of events that left Cosse’s friend and neighbor, Donald Guarino, 26, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, and Kenchristopher Hilson, 22, in jail on second-degree murder charges.

Also arrested in this case were KD Hilson, 18, Cornell Watkins, 23, and Harold Stanton, 19, all of LaPlace. Each was booked on one count of principle to second-degree murder.

On Saturday, an Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by KD Hilson sped down Greenwood Drive on more than one occasion, the sheriff’s office said. When Cosse allegedly threw the bottle and yelled at the car to slow down, the car did not stop, but instead drove to a residence to pick up Kenchristopher Hilson and returned approximately 20 minutes later.

A verbal confrontation then ensued, which led to Guarino being shot in front of numerous witnesses, including his girlfriend and his five-year-old daughter.

Cosse was released from the Sherman Walker Correctional Center Tuesday night, after posting $280 of a $2500 bond.

Maj. Mike Tregre, spokesman for the St. John Sheriff’s Office, said the Greenwood area has constant traffic, and the sheriff’s office does often get complaints from that area regarding speeding.

After Cosse allegedly threw the bottle, someone at the party called authorities to complain of the speeding, and a deputy was actually on patrol in the neighborhood when the shooting occurred, the sheriff’s office said.

Tregre said many drivers use the street as a shortcut between subdivisions, and the issue needs to be addressed by possibly building more roads.

At a press conference on Monday, when authorities would not comment on who they suspected of throwing the bottle, Sheriff Jones lamented the circumstances of how the situation was handled.

“Sometimes they try to take the situation into their own hands, and there was a frustration on the resident’s part that maybe they had enough,” Jones said at the conference, ” But better judgment could have been used by calling the sheriff’s office.”

Jones then stressed the importance of citizen’s calling authorities if a similar situation should ever arise.