Sajaray Franklin Jr. once told his grandmother that he wanted, someday, to become a police officer — a dream that ended Tuesday night when the 17-year-old was shot dead in what’s believed to have been a drug deal gone bad.
The suspected shooter, age 18, was arrested late Wednesday.
The Baton Rouge teen had just returned from a birthday trip to Miami when he and a friend, Bodrick Tremaine Tuggle, also 17, met with the other teen about 10 p.m. in the parking lot of BREC’s Airline Highway Park/Fairgrounds, according to accounts by family and law enforcement.
They intended to rob the teen — later identified as Ronald T. Lockett Jr. — of $1,500 during a marijuana sale, according to an affidavit and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks.
During the meeting, Tuggle heard two gunshots and then watched the shooter race away in a white car, the document says. Tuggle stayed behind after he found Franklin dead.
Initially, Tuggle told deputies that he brought Franklin to the fairgrounds to sell an iPhone 6 to Lockett, but he later confessed to being involved in the drug deal. Lockett, 18, 516 Cypress St., Baker, was arrested Wednesday night in Ascension Parish and will be transferred to Baton Rouge, where he will be booked on counts of second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon, Hicks said.
Tuggle, 3883 Winbourne Ave., was booked Wednesday morning on a count of second-degree murder and a count of armed robbery.
In addition, Christopher Lamonte Gray, 19, 37035 Murphy Webb Road, Prairieville, who was not present during the crime but set up the meeting, according to an affidavit, was arrested on one count of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Though Gray and Tuggle are not the suspected killers, Hicks said, they’re accused of murder because state law allows that charge for people involved in certain crimes that end with a person dead, even if they did not intend to cause bodily harm.
The district attorney may choose to reduce the charges, though, Hicks said.
“I agree with whatever punishment they get,” said Franklin’s mother, Tileasha Bossard, 32. “I think it’s better than their lives being taken, and them dealing with what I’m dealing with right now. But I would like justice to be served.”
Franklin, who lived with his mother, grandmother and two siblings in their 1962 Rice Drive home, attended AMIKids Baton Rouge, an alternative school for troubled youth, and played basketball and football.
“He was a dancer, too,” Bossard said. “He was very popular.”
His grandmother, Bertha Brown, 59, a pastor at Shepherd’s Gate International Ministries, said she knew something was bothering him Tuesday when she last spoke with him.
“I saw him sitting on the steps, and he seemed so sad,” Brown said.
Franklin’s aunt, Tieneka Johnson, 39, said Franklin upheld Christian values, despite how the situation appeared.
“The ministers in the community need to continue to step up in the community and be role models and mentors,” Johnson said. “Not all young men and young boys have the role model in home.”
Editor’s note: This story was changed June 25, 2015, to correct the age of Christopher Lamonte Gray, who is 19.