A man accused in the 2017 string of Clinton-area fatal shootings told authorities he had plans to continue his killing spree, with 12 more "tags" left to fulfill — part of his disturbing confession where he compared killing humans to hunting deer, according to investigative documents. 

Following his October 2017 arrest, Ryan Sharpe told authorities that he killed the three men to fill hunting tags issued to him by the government, according to documents filed in the East Feliciana Clerk of Court's office. He said he had already filled five tags by killing the three men and then one deer — which he said was worth two tags — but then further explained that he believed he still had 12 more tags.

"According to Sharpe, he is responsible for filling five tags for the Louisiana State Police and 12 for the FBI," a report from the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department says. "He told investigators that had he not been caught on that October 2017 day, he would have been able in a couple of days to finish filling his tags and would have turned himself in."

Sharpe has been charged with the murders of the three men and the attempted murder of a fourth, all separate shootings that occurred within a 25-mile radius over a four-month period. He is accused in East Feliciana Parish of the July 2017 fatal shooting of Thomas Bass, 62; the September 2017 nonfatal shooting of Buck Hornsby, then 47; and the October fatal shooting of Brad DeFranceschi, 48. He is accused in East Baton Rouge Parish with the fatal shooting of Carroll Breeden, 66, which occurred just over the parish line. 

A judge in East Feliciana Parish ruled earlier this week after a sanity evaluation that Sharpe was unable to assist his counsel, halting the criminal proceedings. There has been no ruling on Sharpe's sanity at the time of the incidents. 

Sharpe's confession to law enforcement detailed each of the shootings, often in painful specifics, like how he chose the victims and watched them suffer. Other documents show that Sharpe made a point to leave his phone at home or take the battery out when he went to carry out the shootings so he wouldn't be tracked, according to an East Feliciana Sheriff's Office report.

The report also says that Sharpe did indeed know his first victim, Bass. Sharpe told investigators that he had backed into Bass' driveway, asking for air in a tire before ambushing him, the report says. Sharpe also said he did not want to kill Bass, calling him a good person, but said he believed a teleconference with government officials had chosen Bass for the attack.  

Sharpe also told investigators that he believed after he killed someone, he was supposed to report filling the "tag" to the government — the reason he initially called the East Feliciana Sheriff's Office and claimed responsibility for the shootings, the report says. That call was key in directing law enforcement to Sharpe as a suspect in the shootings, which soon led to his arrest.

"It’s an awesome feeling to know that no matter how you resolved this issue, that it was resolved," said East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis. "It was the greatest feeling in the world to know that safety was restored to our community.”

For months, terror swept the region as detectives and officers worked tirelessly to crack the investigation, and Travis said he can still feel the relief. 

"When you look at everything (Sharpe) had done, there's no doubt in my mind that he was going to continue to do this if he had not been stopped," Travis said. "It didn't matter how we got him off the street, we needed him off the street."

Travis called the investigation and arrest a massive team effort, only possible with the support from many local agencies, including State Police, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, the West Feliciana Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

"I don’t know that I’ve ever seen as much fear in our community as we saw late last summer and fall," said East Feliciana Chief Deputy Greg Phares. "The random-ness of it, the fact that nobody knew who might be targeted next and the fact that people felt like they could not go about their daily business, they couldn’t go to the mailbox, they couldn’t cut their yard. It was really affecting people’s lives."

Three of the four men who were shot were ambushed in drive-by shootings while they were in their front lawns, two doing yard work, one exercising.  

"In 46 years in the business, that's about as much pressure I ever felt to solve a case," Phares said, who previously has served as sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish and Baton Rouge police chief. 

And while Travis said he wishes Sharpe was never able to do any damage to their community, he is thankful they were able to stop him when they did. 

"It was very personal to all of us," Travis said. "We did everything we could until the end. … It's so nice to see East Feliciana back to where it was."

Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.