NEW ROADS — Pointe Coupee Parish sheriff’s deputies are on the hunt for a 31-year-old man they suspect of fatally shooting two siblings outside a New Roads nightclub early Wednesday morning.
Authorities don’t know yet why Jamie D. Croom, 8650 Pecan Acres East, allegedly killed the brother and sister, which is why they have urged the public to consider Croom “armed and dangerous,” Sheriff Bud Torres said.
Torres said an arrest warrant has been issued for Croom on two counts of first-degree murder.
Lechelle Rita Williams, 42, of 709 Olinde St., and her 38-year-old brother Sinica Lee Williams were killed about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the Sugar Shack nightclub, 10890 Pointe Coupee Rd.
LaShell Lewis, a friend of the siblings who was with them that night, said Lechelle Williams got into an argument with another woman inside the club that turned physical when Lewis tried to break it up. After they went outside, she said, Croom just walked up to the victims and started shooting.
“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to think. It was horrible,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t do nothing but scream. I basically knew her all my life. They were very nice people. They were friends with everybody.”
Ty Chaney, chief investigator for the Pointe Coupee Parish Coroner’s Office, said autopsies on the siblings’ bodies would be conducted Thursday morning.
Chaney said photos revealed there were multiple gunshot wounds.
Torres told reporters during a news conference Wednesday morning his deputies were initially responding to a call from dispatch about a noise complaint at the nightclub when the fight spilled outside into the parking lot.
The siblings were already dead when deputies arrived, he said.
“We haven’t been able to connect all the dots yet,” Torres said. “Reports from several eye witnesses say there were multiple shots fired but we can’t really nail down all the details. As we continue to examine the evidence we’ll get a better picture.”
Lewis said she didn’t recognize Croom and didn’t believe the siblings knew him.
Several people who said they were cousins of the victims were outside the Sugar Shack Wednesday afternoon examining the crime scene. They said they were told Lechelle Williams attempted to save her little brother by jumping in front of Croom as he approached them in the parking lot.
The group of cousins were highly emotional after seeing their cousin’s blood stains in the parking lot and the plastic sheets blowing in the wind they say were used to cover the siblings’ bodies before first responders arrived.
A man who said he managed the club would not answer questions from reporters about the incident Wednesday afternoon.
“We heard he pushed her out of the way so they wouldn’t hurt his sister,” said Antoniette Coffman, a first-cousin of the Williams siblings. “They say he just stood over (Sinica) shooting.”
Another cousin, Nikki Shines, added, “I don’t know who would want to kill them. ‘Chelle was a loving person. He was too.”
Torres said Sinica Williams had a criminal history and was incarcerated for attempted murder last year. He said his sister did not have a criminal record.
Sinica Williams’ past run-ins with police included arrests for illegal use of weapon, aggravated second-degree battery, various drug charges and several charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to his arrest record.
Croom also has an extensive arrest record.
Police apprehended him in March 2014 on counts of attempted second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated criminal damage to property, police records show.
Since 2000, Croom was also arrested on counts of armed robbery, carjacking, aggravated second-degree battery and attempted second-degree murder.
“He may be here in town, he may be in Baton Rouge,” Torres said of Croom’s whereabouts during Wednesday’s 11 a.m. news conference. “You’d think they would run as far as they could in the last 10 hours.”
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.