Arrest made in Club Xquisite murder

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 2009


LAPLACE – St. John Sheriff Wayne Jones said a 22-year-old LaPlace man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the shooting death of a Kenner teenager in the parking lot of a LaPlace nightclub.

Rayonchez Stewart, of 63 Gardenia St., LaPlace, turned himself in to authorities around 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jones said. He was booked into jail at 12:47 a.m. Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder, in the death of Derrick “Diddy” Danieal Holiman, 17, and attempted first-degree murder, for the shooting of Kristen Evans, 21, of Kenner.

Jones said Holiman was hit in the temple and Evans was struck in the back of the neck when shots were fired outside Club Xquisite on Airline Drive during the early morning hours of June 13. Evans was treated for her injuries at University Hospital in New Orleans and released, but Jones said Holiman succumbed to his injuries after spending a week in an intensive care unit at East Jefferson hospital in Metairie. Holiman’s death was the second homicide of the year in St. John Parish.

During a Wednesday press conference, Jones said Stewart had previously been brought in for questioning about the shooting. The sheriff wouldn’t say exactly what evidence led investigators to issue a warrant for Stewart’s arrest. Jones said detectives had reviewed surveillance video from inside the club on the night of the shooting. It was not clear whether Holiman and Evans were the intended target of the shooting.

 “It was a chaotic scene outside and the crowd seemed to be very worked up,” Jones said. “We believe Stewart fired onto a crowd of about 10 or 12 people that included the two victims. There could have been multiple targets.”

Jones said Wednesday he was bothered by the “vulgarities” captured by the surveillance video and by the actions of some of the patrons at the club, who were there on the night of the shooting to see a performance by an artist known as “Lil Webbie.”

“It appears that people have been coming to this club from all over the area,” Jones said. “They seem to be getting into ‘ranting-type’ situations where they taunt local people at the club.”

Jones did not say if Holiman, Evans or Stewart were involved in any sort of confrontation prior to the shooting. He said the club has been a magnet for trouble and that the Sheriff’s Office had received roughly 68 calls in the past six months from residents complaining about activity at the club. Capt. Dane Clement, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said some of those calls included complaints about loud music, vehicles parked on the shoulder of Airline Drive, car burglaries and aggravated battery charges.

Jones was also particularly concerned by the fact that underage customers were being allowed inside the club and mentioned that a 16-year-old, who was with Holiman at the club, drove the teen to the hospital.

Club Xquisite has been closed since the shooting and Jones said he has asked the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to revoke the club’s liquor license. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 5. Jones said he hopes the hearing will lead to the club’s closure.

“I take no joy in shutting down a business,” said Jones. “My responsibility is community safety and I deem this as an unsafe establishment in LaPlace.”

Stewart remains in jail at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace. No bond was set for the first-degree murder charge, but a St. John Parish judge set a bond of $250,000 for the attempted first-degree murder charge. Jones said detectives are still investigating the case.