Violent weekend in St. John leaves 2 dead

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish is still reeling from two shootings that occurred over the weekend, one less than two hours after the election day polls closed.
On Saturday, April 6, 22-year-old Jamond James of Homewood Place in Reserve was shot on East 24th Street, near the intersection of Louisiana Highway 44. Sheriff Mike Tregre said that for this particular incident, physical evidence may be the key to solving the case.
“There were a group of individuals standing in front of this residence. Someone allegedly opened fire and started shooting at this group. In this group (that was standing in front of the residence), someone returned fire,” said Tregre. “It’s very possible, based on the physical evidence, that the shooter from the group that was returning fire may have accidentally shot one of his own members. Their stories are very inconsistent, but physical evidence does not lie.”
Twenty-three-year-old Ralph Thomas of East Fifth Street in Edgard succumbed to his injuries on the scene during an early morning shooting Sunday. Regarding this case, Tregre said his department is currently in contact with the family of the suspect, and his officers are working to have them convince the suspect to turn himself in.  
The suspect is Demond Baker, 33, of Edgard for 2nd degree murder. Baker’s last known address is Quarter Road, Edgard. He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.
“We have a warrant out for the suspect in that particular homicide. We have reason to believe he is still in St. John Parish. Citizens have been cooperating with us, and we have been speaking to his family. That’s what we’re hoping for, that he would surrender and turn himself in,” said Tregre.
The shootings are the seventh and eighth in the parish this year.
As always, anyone with information regarding either of these incidents is encouraged to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office TIPS line, 985-359-TIPS, or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111