After Demon Sanders allegedly shot and killed another man during an argument Saturday afternoon, detectives believe a group of people followed him and took justice into their own hands, Baton Rouge police said.
Sanders was found shot to death about 40 minutes after the first homicide.
In the span of just 40 minutes, two men had lost their lives, two crime scenes had been established and two families had started grieving. Some people found themselves rushing from one scene to the other trying desperately to figure out what was happening, why their neighborhoods had turned into a warzone.
The first shooting occurred around 3:40 p.m. in the 1300 block of North 38th Street. Malik Cox, 28, was pronounced dead on the scene. Police said initially that the shooting followed a verbal altercation between Cox and another man.
Officials confirmed Thursday that the second man — the suspected shooter — was Sanders, 33, who fled the scene on North 38th Street before police arrived. Witnesses helped detectives identify Sanders as the suspected shooter, officials said.
About 40 minutes after Cox was killed, police received reports of another shooting about a mile away. They found Sanders inside a car suffering from gunshot injuries. It appears he drove off the road after being shot and crashed into a building in the 300 block of North Foster Drive just north of Florida Boulevard.
A 7-year-old girl was also in the car when the shooting occurred. Police said a bullet grazed her leg, and she was hospitalized for treatment of that and other injuries sustained during the crash but was expected to survive. The relationship between Sanders and the child was unknown.
Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. said detectives believe a group of men started following Sanders after his involvement in the earlier homicide. The men saw Sanders riding around in the area and fired shots into his car, McKneely said. He died at the scene.
There was significant damage to the frontend of his vehicle, which came to rest after crashing into a wall. The airbags had deployed and at least one bullet hole was visible in the driver side door.
Police were unable to provide details on the exact circumstances surrounding the earlier shooting, including what the argument was about. Officials also didn't say whether the two men knew each other.
Family and friends at both scenes embraced each other outside the crime tape, sometimes pausing to stare in disbelief at the officers collecting evidence on what had suddenly become a bloody and tragic Saturday afternoon.
Police said Thursday that detectives are still working to identify members of the group that allegedly followed Sanders after the first shooting. They have received several tips and are following all leads, McKneely said.