New Orleans police made their first arrest Wednesday in the fatal shooting of rapper Young Greatness, jailing a man suspected of helping to hide the two handguns used in the October killing as well as ditching the victim's car.
Donald Reaux, 38, faces counts of obstruction of justice, plotting to obstruct justice, and serving as an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder in the Oct. 29 slaying of the musician whose legal name was Theodore Jones.
The death of Jones, a rapper who was raised in New Orleans' St. Bernard housing development and found fame with his 2015 single "Moolah," was among the city's highest-profile murders in 2018.
Documents related to Reaux's arrest provide the most detailed account of the early-morning shooting yet offered by police, who appear to be on the hunt for more suspects.
According to those documents, Reaux drove into the parking lot of the Waffle House restaurant in the 2900 block of Elysian Fields Avenue about 1:20 a.m. on the day Jones was slain.
Reaux got out of his car and spoke with Jones, who was on his phone while apparently waiting to meet someone. A third person then walked up to Jones, 34, and tried to get his autograph, said police, citing surveillance camera footage.
Reaux accompanied that person into the Waffle House while Jones, still holding his phone, got into his Nissan Sentra and started backing out of his parking spot. However, before he could leave, two people emerged from the area of a fenced-in trash bin and began firing handguns at Jones’ car.
Jones jumped from the car and ran toward nearby Abundance Street while his attackers fled in his Sentra. But he was badly wounded and ultimately died in the parking lot.
Meanwhile, Reaux ran from inside the Waffle House to his car shortly after the gunfire erupted, police said. He seemed neither “fearful of being shot (nor) showed … concern for the victim” before driving off in his car, police alleged.
New Orleans rapper "Young Greatness," known for his 2015 breakout single "Moolah," was shot and killed outside a Elysian Fields Waffle House.
Reaux allegedly stopped by the trash bin area before following Jones’ car containing the shooters.
Police said they used footage captured by a city-owned crime camera to determine that Reaux drove about a half-mile to the 3100 block of Allen Street, where Jones’ car was abandoned. Camera footage then showed Reaux driving away from the area with at least one passenger in his car, police alleged.
Investigators later recovered Jones' car and searched it. They failed to find any guns or the rapper’s phone in it and apparently concluded the items had been removed to thwart investigators' efforts.
Police also said they tracked down the owner of the car that Reaux was driving: his longtime girlfriend, who claimed she regularly let Reaux drive her vehicle.
That woman allegedly identified Reaux in the Waffle House security camera video, telling investigators that he and Jones had known each other for years because they grew up in the same neighborhood.
Jones' mother, Jeannie C. Rose, disputed the accuracy of that claim in an email sent to The Advocate on Wednesday night. "My son ... didn't grow up with Donald Reaux at all," Rose's email said.
In any event, investigators said the woman told them twice that Reaux would meet with them at police headquarters, according to court records. But he failed to show up either time, with police later receiving information that he may have gone to Houston.
The lead homicide detective on the case, Brett Mathes, on Monday secured a warrant to arrest Reaux. Records showed Reaux had been booked by late Wednesday morning.
Magistrate Court Commissioner Robert Blackburn set Reaux’s bail at $15,000 on Wednesday afternoon. Reaux could be sentenced to years in prison if eventually convicted of the crimes with which he was booked.
This is not the first time Reaux has been accused of having a hand in violence in New Orleans.
Criminal District Court records show he was arrested on a count of first-degree murder on Dec. 30, 1998, but authorities later declined to prosecute him.
In 2001, a man with Reaux’s name was convicted in federal court of aiding and abetting a bank robbery by force or violence as well as use of a firearm during a violent crime. That defendant received a prison sentence of nearly 12 years, records show. He was released from federal custody in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Jones, who spoke openly about how he sold drugs to buy studio time and equipment early in his rap career, navigated legal problems and other hardships before establishing himself as an artist and scoring a hit with "Moolah."
The single registered more than 30 million YouTube views and topped out at No. 85 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its success landed Young Greatness on one of Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists You Need to Know” lists, with the magazine comparing him favorably to rap stars Fetty Wap, Future and Migos.
Hurricane Katrina displaced Jones to Houston, but he was in New Orleans for a funeral when he was slain, his mother told a local television station.
New Orleans police on Wednesday morning arrested a man accused of trying to help thwart the investigation into last year’s killing of rapper Y…