NEW ROADS—The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office is now revisiting at least three previously reported crimes connected to what investigators believe is an ongoing feud between two New Roads families, a feud that led this week to the death of a deputy U.S. marshal.
Sheriff Bud Torres said Friday his office is giving a fresh look to two pending sheriff cases, along with another originally handled by the New Roads Police Department. All three cases involve members of the Williams and Croom families, who he claims have been locked in a bitter drug-related turf war for at least a year.
Authorities already have arrested five of Jamie D. Croom’s relatives and known associates on the heels of the fatal shooting on Tuesday of deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells by Croom, who had been sought by law enforcement in a double homicide. Torres says more arrests are pending as the investigation continues.
“A lot of these things haven’t been completely closed,” Torres said. “But since the shooting, cooperating individuals from both families have been helping our investigation into a lot of the pre-existing issues they had.”
The tensions spilled over into Baton Rouge on Tuesday when Croom shot and killed Wells, 27, while authorities tried to apprehend the convicted felon and wanted man at the Elm Grove Motel in Scotlandville.
Croom, who died Wednesday morning from multiple gunshot wounds he sustained when authorities returned gunfire, had been on the run from police since he allegedly killed siblings Lechelle Rita Williams, 42, and Sinica Lee Williams, 38, on Feb. 18 outside the Sugar Shack in New Roads.
Latonia Croom Duncan has said her brother killed the Williams siblings because Sinica Williams threatened his life, while saying other members of the family also had targeted the Crooms.
However, Shenita Williams told a different version Friday, saying her younger brother went to the Sugar Shack that night to resolve the beef between the two sides.
“Sinica never threatened anyone,” Williams said. “He did have a criminal past. He wasn’t perfect. He had changed.”
In fact, she claims the two families were once close. She said her brother’s oldest daughter is a Croom.
“Me and Jamie’s oldest sister were best friends until this happened,” she said.
Duncan could not be reached Friday for comment.
Shenita Williams said she believes Jamie Croom and other Croom family members lured her siblings into the Sugar Shack parking lot just to kill them.
“Witnesses saw them shake hands ... then (Jamie Croom) just turned around and blew his brains out,” she said.
The night at the Sugar Shack wasn’t the first time things took a violent turn between the sparring clans.
Police reports show that about midnight on Christmas Eve 2014, someone fired multiple gunshots into a home at 8650 Pecan Drive East owned by Croom’s grandmother.
At least three people were injured in the incident, according to a police report by the Sheriff’s Office.
Four months earlier, several individuals broke into the same house while Croom’s grandmother was home alone.
Police records indicate nothing was stolen after the intruders broke into the house through the back door. It doesn’t appear Croom’s grandmother was hurt.
It’s unclear from police reports if the Williams family was involved in either incident.
Duncan previously told the Advocate the break-in sparked the feud between the two families. She also claimed it was Sinica Williams’ nephew, Darius Lee Williams, who was behind it. Shenita Williams, however, said neither her nephew nor her brother was involved in those incidents.
Torres said further details into the crimes could not be released Friday because of the pending probes. At the time of the crimes, arrests weren’t made because family members refused to corporate with authorities, he added.
A month before the Williams siblings were killed, Darius Williams was accused of shooting Jamie Croom about 10 p.m. on Jan. 15 in the parking lot of a convenience store, according to a police report. Shelly Croom, booked this week as an accessory who helped Jamie Croom after the Williams siblings’ homicide, identified Darius Williams as the shooter.
Darius Williams was later arrested and booked into the parish jail on an attempted second-degree murder charge.
Authorities on Friday would not release further details into the shooting because of the pending case with the 18th Judicial District Court.
Shenita Williams said her nephew is innocent. “I guess they’re trying to justify what Jamie did,” she said.