A shooting Monday evening at a Perkins Road gas station was the fatal end of a road rage confrontation, Baton Rouge Police said Tuesday.
Jarmal Jackson told police that he was driving down down the interstate when another car started tailgating him in a fit of road rage, according to arrest documents. Once the 19-year-old reached Perkins Road, he and the other driver exchanged words while stopped at a red light. Before driving off, he saw the enraged driver flash a handgun at him, Jackson told BRPD.
Jackson drove to the Benny’s Car Wash less than a mile away. He parked at a vacuuming station at the rear of the gas station to clean his car. But it didn’t take long before the enraged driver parked next to Jackson, and a fight ensued.
The driver, 40-year-old Joseph Tatney of Plaquemine, punched Jackson twice in the face, the documents say.
That’s when the roles of the attack switched: Jackson went to his car, grabbed his handgun and shot Tatney multiple times while standing over him, according to an arrest report from BRPD.
Police who happened to be at the scene quickly responded. The gas station and car wash serve as a common refueling spot for officers.
EMS arrived within minutes, but Tatney died at the scene. Officers arrested Jackson on charges of second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.
Jackson told police that after being punched, “he became upset and [didn’t] recall his actions.”
Though Jackson started the fight, criminal defense attorney Franz Borghardt said a self-defense argument in court would be “problematic” given the current evidence.
Louisiana’s law states that “a homicide is justifiable… when committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger.”
Borghardt noted that the two key words in that law are ‘reasonably’ and ‘necessary,’ and that certain parts of the arrest warrant indicate this crime doesn't seem reasonable or necessary.
He pointed out that if Jackson was able to get to his car to grab his gun, he could have just as easily locked his car and called local authorities.
There have been 67 homicides in East Baton Baton Rouge Parish this year, according to data collected by The Advocate, putting the city on track to well surpass the record-breaking 114 killings of 2020.
Eight of those homicides happened on or after Memorial Day, when a triple homicide took the life of two young men and a 1-year-old infant at an apartment complex swimming pool on College Drive just hours after another was shot on Addison Street.
Multiple recent shootings have happened in broad daylight, including one near the lunch hour last month at the IHOP in a busy shopping center on Siegen Lane,
BRPD has said several times over the last few months that they’ve seen an increase in minor disputes such as this leading to gunfire. Police recommend drivers to call local authorities and drive to the nearest police station or other public service agency if they think they’re involved in a road rage incident.