The man suspected in the June 14 fatal shooting of a young woman in Baton Rouge was arrested after having fallen 40 feet from a bridge in Texas the day after the slaying, Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. confirmed.
Billy G. Pettice, 38, who was arrested Thursday in the shooting death of 20-year-old Dedawn Bush on College Drive, encountered law enforcement officers on June 15, the day after the killing, in Galveston, Texas, after he fell from a causeway bridge.
Pettice told investigators that he was trying to take a selfie photo before slipping and tumbling from the bridge into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Galveston Police Department spokesman Sgt. Xavier Hancock told The Advocate on Thursday. A person aboard a fishing boat found Pettice treading water and took him to the Payco Marina, where Galveston Area Ambulance Authority personnel examined him.
Personnel transported Pettice to the University of Texas Medical Branch hospital, where he spent the night "for observation in fear of internal injuries," Hancock said.
The Galveston County Daily News reported that Pettice broke his ribs during the fall. Though Pettice told investigators he had slipped, police initially responded to the bridge after reports of a man jumping.
When Texas investigators attempted to verify Pettice's Louisiana driver's license, officials in Louisiana alerted them of an outstanding warrant on burglary, Hancock said. Officers with the University of Texas campus police department took Pettice into custody Sunday when he was ready to be released from the hospital.
Coppola, the Baton Rouge Police spokesman, confirmed that the Billy Pettice suspected in the Baton Rouge slaying is the same man from the Texas news reports. Coppola said Pettice jumped off the bridge.
It was not immediately clear Thursday evening how Baton Rouge investigators ultimately connected Pettice to Bush’s slaying.
Coppola said Pettice, whose address is unknown, was extradited to Louisiana and will be booked in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of first-degree murder and theft of a firearm. Coppola did say it appears Pettice and Bush had known each other.
Bush was shot while walking on a sidewalk around 9:15 p.m. on June 14 in the 2100 block of College Drive near a Baton Rouge apartment where she was temporarily living, Baton Rouge police previously said.
Police previously said a man walked up to Bush and began shooting. The man then reportedly fled north on foot.
The woman's family said she was very caring, always kept a job and aspired to become a nurse. She graduated from Belaire High School in Baton Rouge in 2017.
More information to come.