Arrest made in Garyville shooting

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – St. John Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Garyville man Wednesday in connection with the shooting of a 35-year-old LaPlace resident.

Maj. Mike Tregre, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, said Rodney Mason Jr., 19, of 374 Fig St. in Garyville, was detained on first-degree murder charges after appearing in court Wednesday for an unrelated incident. He was booked into the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace, and is being held on $250,000 bond.

Tregre said Mason allegedly shot 35-year-old Rico Lee in the hip after an altercation on December 27.

Lee was later found lying on the ground near the Sheriff’s Office Substation on Historic Main St. in Garyville around 9 p.m. that evening. He was taken to River Parishes Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. He was later sent to a Hammond hospital for further treatment.

Tregre said Lee filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office against Mason on January 2. In the complaint, Lee said as he approached a dice game on December 27, Mason confronted him and demanded that he leave the area.

When Lee refused to leave, Mason pulled out a gun and shot Lee. Lee also said that Mason then shot himself in the leg, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

Tregre said when Mason was taken into custody and questioned Wednesday, Mason told deputies that Lee shot him first and he was returning fire in self defense. The report said Lee denies shooting Mason.

Tregre said investigators are still trying to determine if Mason shot himself on purpose or accidentally, or if Lee did in fact shoot Mason. Tregre said no weapons have been recovered, and no independent witnesses have come forward.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 985-652-9514.