A 23-year-old gang member and convicted felon was arrested Monday afternoon in the Gardere-area shooting death of a 25-year-old St. Gabriel gospel singer and pianist who tried to intervene in a fight between his brother and the shooter, authorities said.
Andre Wright was fatally shot around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1900 block of Mariner Drive as he tried to intervene in the fight between his brother and Eric A. Robertson, the man arrested in the shooting, said East Baton Rouge Sheriff's spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks.
Wright's brother and Robertson were fighting over a female, and when Wright tried to intervene, Robertson shot him several times and then fled, Hicks said.
Wright "was an accomplished musician and a vocalist," said Hosea Redditt, a friend of the family. "Andre always had a smile. I've been knowing him all his life and I've never even known him to be angry. … He got along with everyone."
Redditt, 45, said he had mentored Wright, who sang as a tenor in two gospel ensembles and directed music at two churches, and thought of him as a son.
"Andre has probably been doing music since he was about 3 or 4 years old," Redditt said. "He was great at it. … He was the epitome of a songbird."
Redditt said Wright was the music director — leading the choir and playing the organ — at both Rock Zion Baptist Church in St. Gabriel and Greater Hollywood Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Wright also sang in Redditt's ensemble, the Redditt Family Gospel Singers, and in the Majestic Ensemble for Christ.
"He was a busy young man," Redditt said. Wright worked at a chemical plant, performing, attending church, singing and playing in his free time, Redditt said.
"He was just the light that we all needed, and I believe that the life he lived should be an example for all of us," said Gerald Washington, director of the Majestic Ensemble for Christ. "I don't think they really understand what they took from us."
Faith Lands, a fellow musician and friend, said she was crushed to hear about Wright.
"He was a very loving person," Lands, 23, said. "He was a respectable young man, loved the Lord, loved to praise God."
Redditt said he had texted with Wright on Sunday, confirming their ensemble's practice for Monday night.
"We're in shock, (we're) hurt, confused," Redditt said. "Whoever had the audacity to do this to him — God will find some way to bring justice."
Robertson, of 7680 S. River Road in Addis, was booked into Parish Prison on counts of second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Robertson is a known member of the Big Money Block Boyz gang, according to his arrest warrant. He was convicted of simple burglary and theft of a firearm in 2013 and was again convicted of simple burglary in 2014, the warrant says. He was on parole through 2020 for a conviction on possession with intent to distribute marijuana.