Two people shot dead in Donaldsonville just hours before prayer rally against violence _lowres

Advocate staff photo by David J. Mitchell -- Ascension Parish sheriff's deputies and emergency officials wait at the scene of a double-homicide on Latino Drive in Donaldsonville the afternoon of Jan. 26. Sheriff's investigators now say the gun used in the slayings of Chad Nichols, 37, who lived on Latino, and Benny Booker, 29, of Prairieville, had been used previously in four separate shootings in New Orleans in 2011 and 2013. Investigators have tied the same pistol to all five incidents through ballistics.

DONALDSONVILLE — Two men who were gunned down Monday afternoon in front of a Latino Street mobile home may have been robbed in a drug deal gone wrong, the Ascension Parish sheriff said.

Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Thursday that a small amount of heroin was found inside the home of Chad Nichols, 37, 178 Latino St., Donaldsonville.

Nichols was killed in his front yard about 3:30 p.m. Monday. A second man shot at the home, Benny Booker, 29, 54054 Spellman Wall Road, Prairieville, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries but died later Monday, deputies have said.

Wiley and deputies refused to provide any further information Thursday about the shooting and the heroin that was recovered.

“The case is actively being investigated by a team of detectives, and there are multiple directions that it’s headed in,” Wiley said.

He added that his office has been in direct contact with Nichols’ mother and stepfather, Myra and Marvin Gros. Wiley said both are well-known and respected leaders in community.

Marvin Gros is a Donaldsonville-based attorney who practices civil and criminal law. Attempts to contact Marvin and Myra Gros on Thursday were unsuccessful.

According to records searches, neither victim has a criminal history in Ascension that would point to drug activity. Each man had been arrested on speeding and other traffic violations.

Booker also was convicted of misdemeanor criminal simple damage to property in August 2010 and had misdemeanor simple battery and criminal damage charges pending against him at the time of his death, court minutes say.

Deputies continue to search for Booker’s white Dodge Magnum, in which the assailants fled the shooting scene. The car has Louisiana license plate YPC 682.

Surveillance video captured the Dodge speeding through Donaldsonville following another vehicle also believed involved in the homicide.

That vehicle appears to be a 2008 to 2011 white BMW 3 series, deputies said.

Latino Street is a quiet street off La. 308, lined on both sides with large lots and neat houses and trailer homes.

Advocate reporter Ellyn Couvillion contributed to this story. Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.