The son of convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee has been arrested in the fatal shooting of an East Feliciana High School student earlier this month. Authorities said he confessed to accidentally shooting his friend after first telling investigators it had been a suicide.
East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis was initially reluctant to call the shooting a homicide, leaving open the possibility that the gunshot was self inflicted. But Travis said Wednesday that Dedrick Lee, 19, later admitted to investigators that he was responsible for the death of Valentae' Brooks, 16, on the evening of Nov. 13.
Lee was booked into the East Feliciana jail last week on one count of negligent homicide and has since been released on bond.
A 16-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital after a shooting in Jackson around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the East Feliciana Parish…
In his second interview with investigators, Lee said he "initially lied because he was scared of getting in trouble," according to his arrest warrant. Lee explained that he and Brooks were hanging out in his bedroom and intended to "create a rap song in his closet, which was his makeshift recording studio."
Brooks pulled out a gun and said: "I told you I was going to get one." And the two decided to take photos and videos with the firearm.
Lee said Brooks told him the gun wasn't loaded, but he didn't check to confirm that, according to the warrant. Lee said "he was just playing with the gun and that he must have accidentally pulled the trigger because it went off and struck Brooks."
Lee then told his stepfather, David Green, what had happened and Green called 911. Green later backed up Lee's initial story that he found Brooks face down on the bed with a gun underneath his chest.
Lee turned over the gun to authorities immediately after the shooting.
Investigators noted in the warrant that he "appeared to be very upset about the incident and expressed remorse for causing the death of his friend."
The man believed to be Dedrick Lee's father — Derrick Todd Lee — was linked to a string of women's deaths in south Louisiana in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was sentenced to death but died of heart disease in 2016 before he could be executed.
"It doesn't matter whose son he is. He still would have arrested on the same charge because it's based on the evidence that we have," Travis said. "The fact is it's irrelevant to the case."
People questioned on the scene initially told investigators that no one had witnessed the shooting because Brooks was alone in the room when it occurred. But Travis said Dedrick Lee later came voluntarily to authorities and confessed to the accidental shooting after his family encouraged him to tell the truth about what happened.
"He confessed and we made an arrest based on (the evidence) we have at the moment," Travis said. "That doesn't mean the investigation is over. … If anything changes, the charges can be enhanced."
He said physical evidence, including information gathered during the autopsy, is consistent with the account Lee provided in his confession.
Brooks was a student at East Feliciana High School and was pronounced dead at the hospital after being shot in the chest.
Administrators posted on the school's Facebook page the day after his death.
"The EFHS Tiger Family would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the Brooks family on the tragic loss of our student Valentae Brooks," the post reads. "His smile and spirit will truly be missed."
It was as if the gunman had gone out hunting, targeting strangers as they carried out quotidian tasks on their own property.