A 36-year-old Clinton man who led authorities on a chase Wednesday was later captured and confessed during interrogation in the three killings and nonfatal shooting since July near the East Feliciana-East Baton Rouge parish line, authorities said.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux would not comment on Ryan Sharpe's motive in the shootings or if he knew the victims.
Sharpe, 14227 La. 959, Clinton, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of first-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon and drive-by shooting assault in the Sept. 19 death of Carroll Breeden. Sharpe also will be booked by the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.
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East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis said they developed Sharpe as a person of interest and had been conducting surveillance on his home. About 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, they pursued him when he left the home in a white Nissan Altima, which matched the description of the shooter's vehicle in the most recent shooting, that of Brad DeFranceschi, who was killed Monday while trimming weeds outside his Highway 63 home.
Sharpe on Wednesday led deputies on a chase across multiple parishes after he refused to pull over outside his house, according to an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office arrest report.
He was caught, armed at the time with a lever action rifle on the passenger seat, on Lee Price Road in Clinton, according to the report. Sharpe was the only person in the car at the time.
In addition to the confession, Travis said, investigators had physical evidence that Sharpe was behind the shootings but did not elaborate on what that was.
According to the East Baton Rouge arrest report, a bullet found on Pride-Port Hudson Road near Breeden's body matched a bullet found in the wall of DeFranceschi's home.
Earlier Wednesday evening, marked and unmarked units from the East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge sheriff's offices and Louisiana State Police filled La. 959 as officers investigated Sharpe's home, which is set back from the road. The home was obscured from view behind the vehicles and the heavy woods that surround it.
Three East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's SWAT vehicles with officers hanging from the back left the scene about 6 p.m. as other vehicles, including an ambulance, also rolled out. A number of East Baton Rouge vehicles were stationed at the Bluff Creek Fire Protection District, just down the road from the home under investigation.
In their announcement late Wednesday night, authorities did not use the term "serial killer" to describe the arrest of one man in the four shootings, all within a 25-mile radius since July and all targeted at middle-aged men.
Baton Rouge-area law enforcement are investigating a shooting Monday that killed a camp rang…
When Gautreaux was asked by a reporter if he would call Sharpe a serial killer, he said 'no,' but that they were "open-minded."
"It can be categorized as anything really, but we've been open-minded during this investigation to any and all possibilities," Gautreaux said.
East Feliciana authorities had previously identified a car they called both "white" and "light-colored" as potentially linked to the Monday fatal shooting of DeFranceschi, who was killed outside his house at the Avondale Scout Reservation. Sharpe's arrest report says surveillance video captured a white Nissan Altima near the scene of DeFranceschi's killing.
The shooting happened on the same road less than 10 miles from the Sept. 12 drive-by shooting that injured 47-year-old Buck Hornsby. He was shot while exercising near the roadside of his property on La. 63, Travis has said.
A week later, 66-year-old Breeden was killed about 5:30 p.m. as he sprayed weeds by the road in the front yard of his Pride home, just over the parish line from Clinton. Someone in a vehicle drove by and gunned him down, officials said at the time.
On the morning of July 8, Thomas Bass was killed outside his Highway 63 house. Unlike the other shootings, Travis said, the 62-year-old Bass was found dead closer to his home, where the shooter would have had to come up on the property.
Neighbors of Sharpe, who declined to be identified, said earlier Wednesday that he often threw parties, and he had a lot of dogs.
Sharpe owned and operated Sharpe Plumbing, LLC, which is registered with the state under Sharpe's address. Sharpe first registered the business with the state in 2015 and the company remained in good standing, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State records.