A man was shot and killed Friday night driving a friend home from a high school football game he had attended with his family, a shooting that happened in the same Scotlandville neighborhood where his brother was gunned down in 2008.
Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department, said James “Kewambi” Collins, 39, died after he was struck by shots fired from what appears to have been a moving vehicle about 10 p.m. Friday in the 10200 block of Avenue E. Police did not know who shot him or why as of Saturday afternoon.
Collins and his wife, Machelle, had driven separate cars to a high school football game to see Collins’ son play that evening, and the game had just ended.
“He wanted to drop off a friend,” Machelle Collins said. “He said he’d meet me at home.”
James Collins left with one of his sons and the friend he’d brought to the game.
“I was still at the game getting ready to go, and I received a call from his son,” Machelle Collins said. “He told me that something had happened to his dad. He was with him.”
Machelle Collins said she rushed over to the scene to find him on the ground next to his truck. Her husband’s friend and son were there when she arrived, neither hurt.
“When I made it to the scene, (James) was still alive and breathing,” Machelle Collins said. “He was looking at me, and I held his hand.”
She said he was transported to the hospital, where she waited to see if he’d make it.
“They continued to work on him, and they told me it wasn’t looking good. A couple of hours later, they said he didn’t pull through.”
Coppola said he died of gunshot wounds.
Machelle Collins said she knew of no reason someone would want her husband dead.
“We talked about everything,” she said. “He wasn’t in any beefs and didn’t have any feuds with anybody.”
Machelle Collins said her husband’s death comes after his older brother, Kemiah Palmer, was gunned down in 2008 in the same neighborhood. He has one remaining sister.
“He was a hardworking person. He was a good husband, father and provider,” his wife said.
She said he loved family vacations and pulled out a photo to show of a trip they took to the Bahamas.
The couple had been together for 10 years and were married last March, Machelle Collins said. They met at a New Year’s Eve function.
“He was my soulmate,” she said.
Collins, of 11000 block of Flamingo Drive, was from the Baton Rouge area and worked at an industrial cleaning company in Prairieville, Pro Serve Inc. He worked as a hydro blast vacuum technician cleaning at various plants and refineries.
His supervisor, Preston Williams, said Collins also helped him with a lawn service he operates on the side and the two of them were supposed to meet early the next morning.
“He actually texted me yesterday,” he said. “I had a lot of yards to do this weekend. I told him, ‘I’ll pick you up at 7:30 in the morning,’ and he texted me back, ‘OK.’ ”
Williams said they’d known each other for six years.
“He was a good friend,” Williams said. “He will be missed, but he won’t be forgotten.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Violent Crimes Unit at 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.