More than a week after her little brother was gunned down outside an apartment complex on Jefferson Highway, Jordan LaCombe can't stop thinking about what could have been.
If the front gate had been locked, if she had scraped together the money for their new apartment, if her brother had realized the danger he was facing — maybe then his life would have been saved.
"I know I shouldn't go down that rabbit hole," she said. "This just happened so fast."
Logan LaCombe died Aug. 21 from several gunshot wounds, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. He was 20 years old.
The shooting was reported around 4:15 p.m. in the parking lot of the Jefferson Shadows apartment complex near Bluebonnet Boulevard. The death was not disclosed previously due to law enforcement straying from its usual protocol for notifying the public about homicides.
LaCombe was one of three people killed that Friday across the parish, two shootings and one pedestrian fatality that police believe was intentional. The killings came amid a prolonged spike in Baton Rouge homicides as the murder rate has reached a historic high. However, the past week has seen a welcome respite from the violence with several days of relative peace.
It was a common occurrence: two good friends chatting on the front porch.
Two suspects were arrested in Mississippi not long after LaCombe's death, though neither were accused of pulling the trigger. However, the sheriff's office later recalled a warrant for one of them after she was arrested. Officials said the woman's co-defendant had told detectives she was at the scene, but additional evidence contradicted his statements.
Joshua Juvon Johnson, 27, faces a count of principal to first-degree murder and principal to illegal use of a weapon. Detectives identified Johnson as a suspect after he somehow left his wallet and ID at the scene, lying in the parking lot next to the victim, according to his arrest warrant.
Witnesses described seeing a white vehicle flee the scene right after the shooting.
The suspects had come to the Baton Rouge apartment complex to buy narcotics from LaCombe, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks said. Johnson's arrest warrant doesn't include information about a possible motive, and it's not clear how the alleged drug deal devolved into a homicide.
Investigators found a gun, cell phone, shoes and bloody clothing in the spot where LaCombe was shot. They also believe the victim had prescription pills in his hands when the shooting occurred, according to the warrants.
"Regardless of the circumstances, he didn't have to be gunned down like that," his grandmother Claudette LaCombe said, noting that investigators found numerous shell casings at the scene. "That's just an execution."
Jordan LaCombe said her little brother had made some mistakes but was growing up and realized he needed to make some changes. She finally felt optimistic about his future.
He had a roofing job lined up and was planning to start as soon as he got his car registered and insured. He had previously worked at a seafood market and doing maintenance on solar panels.
Logan LaCombe had been staying with his sister and her family. The shooting occurred right outside their apartment.
She had been planning to move into a new apartment with Logan and her toddler son, she said. The last text message she sent her brother was to tell him she would hopefully have the money for a down payment the following Monday, which would mean a new chapter in their lives.
Instead of that new chapter, she got a new tattoo last week memorializing her brother's life: his name surrounded with flowers and a feather on her right forearm, and a line from his favorite song — "valuable pain" — near her ankle.
The siblings grew up in Port Allen and moved to Baton Rouge after high school. Logan had participated in the Louisiana Youth Challenge Program, which is an alternative education program run by the Louisiana National Guard, his sister said. She said he excelled there and earned his high school equivalency degree.
He was also a loving uncle to his nephew and doted on his younger siblings.
"He had such a big heart and he was so young," Jordan LaCombe said. "We want people to know how much he'll be missed."
Editor's Note: This story previously included the name of the suspect who was initially arrested but later cleared by law enforcement. Detectives concluded the woman was not at the scene, so her warrant has been recalled and her name has been removed from the story.