A beloved member of local church choirs and gospel groups who sang at LSU football legend Billy Cannon's funeral last year was killed Sunday in what appears was a deadly carjacking.  

Marshall Kolby Larks, known as "Hollywood" for his flashy fashion sense, was found dead along Spanish Town Road early Sunday, a killing his family calls shocking and heart-wrenching. 

"He didn’t deserve to die, he shouldn’t have died," said Larks' mother, Carolyn Larks. "I had a good son. He would help everybody."

No one has been arrested in the 35-year-old's death, and the investigation remains active, Baton Rouge police spokesman L'Jean McKneely said Tuesday. 

Marshall Larks was found dead about 9 a.m. Sunday off the side of the 1100 block of Spanish Town Road, across from the construction site for The Elysian II apartment complex. Yellow police tape on Tuesday morning remained torn from gates bordering the apartment and tied to nearby light posts. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said Larks died of multiple gunshot wounds. 

Larks was found on the ground without any of his belongings, McKneely said. A vehicle was stolen in the encounter, which police have since recovered elsewhere. McKneely would not say where it was found.

Larks' family said Larks, who lived about 7 miles away in a residence east of Airline Highway, had been driving that vehicle, leading them to suspect a carjacking.  

Police, however, declined to release a possible motive or any other details about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. 

While the family said Larks grew up in the Spanish Town Road neighborhood where he was found dead and still knew people in the area, no one could imagine why he would be attacked. Larks was not involved in drugs, alcohol or shady dealings, his brother said.

“It just shocks me. … The community is outraged right now," said state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, who knew Marshall Larks from his performances at her church and other community events. "It just saddens me that someone would take his life. … He was just a fun person to know. He would keep you laughing all the time."

Larks had been singing at church since he was 5, his family said, when he first joined the choir at Little Rising Sun Baptist Church at South 16th Street. 

“He would never would miss church unless he had to work," his aunt Deborah Everson said. "He knows the Word.”

He was a part of the Emmanuel Baptist Church Aid Association's choir, which traveled around the region to perform.

"He was well-known in and out of Baton Rouge," said the Rev. Emma Woods, the interim pastor of the Little Rising Sun Baptist Church. 

Larks had performed in March at the funeral for LSU football legend Billy Cannon, who was a friend of the family. According to the program from the funeral, Larks sang, "I Can Only Imagine."

He also made a statement with his fashion-forward outfits, which earned his nickname "Hollywood," often wearing wild glasses or shoes — or both — to complement his look. 

"When he dressed, his suit, his shoes, his hair, everything had to be perfect, even his eyeglasses," Everson said.

And while his singing and style stood out, his family said, it is his character they will most remember.

“My brother was a loving person. If you’re having a bad day, before you leave, he would make you smile," said Anthony Hall, Larks' older brother. "He just had that type of personality. … He was loved by so many people.”

Larks had lived with his mother, and until recently, his aging grandparents, whom he had helped care for until their death, his family said. He would drive his grandfather, who was a pastor, to church and other events and would help his grandmother with groceries, getting to know the cashiers at Sam's Club, where she preferred to shop. 

“Every morning, my baby would get up and hug and kiss me and say, 'Mama, I love you.' Every morning," Carolyn Larks said, tearing up. "He just believed in God and was always calling up on the Lord.”

Larks worked for years at funeral homes and had picked up other positions, like most recently at Whataburger on Siegen Lane. 

"Nobody was ever a stranger to him," Hall said. "If he met you right now, you’d think you knew him forever." 


Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.