A dispute over a young woman’s driving Tuesday evening on Iroquois Street apparently sparked a street brawl between two families that ended with her stepfather shot dead and police trying to determine exactly what occurred.
Walter Houston, 33, died on the way to a hospital after being shot in the chest about 6:50 p.m. in the 3300 block of Iroquois Street, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
Details of the moments leading up to the shooting are still murky. McKneely said investigators are continuing to interview anyone who might have been involved “to try to find out what happened and what led to all this occurring.”
By Wednesday evening, police named Walter Williams, 36, of Baton Rouge, as one of at least two shooters at the scene but not the person who fired the fatal shot.
Williams, 1222 Harco Drive, arrived armed at the scene of the fight on Iroquois Street about 7 p.m., the report says. A witness saw Williams fire multiple shots into the crowd of about 10 people, though he did not strike anyone, the report says. Williams, who is on parole for attempted first-degree murder, was arrested about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 600 block of North 38th Street and is expected to be booked in Parish Prison on 10 more counts of attempted first-degree murder, a count of illegal use of a weapon and a count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, said police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola.
The series of events that led to the fatal shooting began earlier Tuesday afternoon when Houston’s two stepdaughters, 16-year-old Terrianna Jones and 20-year-old Alexis Williams, became involved in an altercation with members of a family living on Iroquois, the sisters said Wednesday.
Coppola could not say whether Alexis Williams is related to Walter Williams.
Jones said Alexis Williams had picked her up from band practice at Belaire High School, and the two had dropped off a cousin and were on their way to an aunt’s birthday party when they saw a man standing in the street.
“I guess they felt some type of way that my sister didn’t slow down when he was in the road,” Jones said. “So he got out of the road (and) he threw the bottle at my sister’s car.”
Jones said Alexis Williams stopped the car and the two got out. “Then they threw a Coke in my face,” Jones said.
The two went home but then came back with other family members, including Houston.
Alexis Williams said that when they got out of the car, the man who had been standing in the road and members of his family “just came toward us.”
McKneely said there were “at least 10 to 20 people” involved in what became a “brawl.”
“The man was trying to hit me with the gun,” Alexis Williams said. Her mother and one of her aunts tried to intervene.
“Auntie and my mama were like, ‘No, don’t hit my daughter,’ ” Williams said. “And then (Houston) came, trying to block it, and then all I heard was shots.”
Kenna Raymond, 76, a neighbor, said he was in bed at the time of the fight but heard a total of five gunshots ring out: “One and then four more, that’s it.”
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark said an autopsy showed Houston suffered one gunshot wound to the chest.
“Others that were involved in the fight also received medical treatment for their injuries,” McKneely said.
A woman who identified herself as the mother of several of those involved in the altercation with Houston’s family said Wednesday she was too upset to speak about the incident.
Others at the woman’s house also refused to talk about the incident.
On Wednesday, several detectives were canvassing the neighborhood, interviewing neighbors and examining the scene.
McKneely said a number of those involved in the altercation had come forward with differing versions of the story and that police still hadn’t determined an exact motive in the shooting.
Jones and her sister said neither they nor their family had been involved in previous disputes with the other family.
“We never had any problems with them,” Jones said.
Family members gathered Wednesday at Houston’s home on North 38th Street, about a mile and a half from the scene of the shooting. They remembered him as a family-oriented, hard-working father of five.
Jerome Houston, the victim’s only sibling, said his brother loved to cook and was working in restaurants to support his family, which includes three boys and two girls — ages 10 to 16 — in addition to his two stepdaughters. Houston also had driven commercial trucks, his brother said.
Jones and Alexis Williams described their stepfather as loving and supportive and a man who loved to travel on vacations with his family — to Florida, to water parks in Texas and recently to Biloxi, Mississippi.
“We just want justice,” said Martha Bradley, Houston’s mother-in-law. “You can’t bring them back.”
Advocate staff writer Danielle Maddox contributed to this report.