Mar 7, 2014 12:38 PM by Dave Fields and Letitia Walker
Opelousas Police have re-arrested a 16-year-old on charges of 2nd degree murder following the shooting death of a 5-year-old.
New information from an exclusive KATC interview with the boy's parents provides fresh insight into what may have occurred on the day of the shooting.
Jon'qualon Pitre died in a Baton Rouge hospital after being shot on February 27th. Initially the teenager was charged with illegal possession of the firearm. Chief Perry Gallow told us they found the gun used in the shooting just feet away from the victim. However, the teenager said he wasn't there, and phone records reflected he made a few calls near his mother's Cherry Street home when the shots were fired.
Police had said that it had appeared as though the five-year-old and his seven-year-old brother were the only ones in the yard when the shot was fired at "point blank range". Now police say because of evidence analyzed at the State Police Crime lab and further statements taken, the teenager is now the suspect in the shooting death.
During an exclusive and previously unpublished interview with Jon'qualon's parents on March 5, Jon'qualon's mother said she had asked her 7-year-old, "Did you touch the gun?"
"No, ma'am," he told her, according to the boy's mother, Shawndree Pitre. The boys' father, Benjamin Gaines, told KATC that his 7-year-old "had been sticking to his story and I don't know why the police don't believe him."
"He (his 7-year-old) doesn't lie to his father at all," said Gaines. Gaines told KATC that the 16-year-old boy now in custody, a boyfriend of Gaines's sister-in-law, he said, had been borrowing the white car belonging to his wife's sister. Gaines's father said that his 7-year-old had told him that the now apprehended 16-year-old boy had left the scene in the same white vehicle shortly after the alleged shooting of Jon'qualon.
"For a month, he had been staying at our house. My wife didn't like him. My wife had a funny vibe against him. He had been skipping school," Gaines said.
Gaines said that that his 7-year-old son had told him that he had witnessed the 16-year-old shooting a gun in the field across the street and that 16-year-old house guest, according to the 7-year-old, had hidden the gun underneath the steps of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. home.
Gaines said that his 7-year-old next observed the 16-year-old entering the home and then 5-year-old Jon'qualon playing with the gun. According to the story, the father continues, his son told him that the 16-year-old re-exited the home and began to fuss at Jon'qualon.
"Don't play with that gun!" the 16-year-old allegedly shouted at Jon'qualon, according to the boy's father.
"If I ever catch you with that gun, I'm going to shoot you," according to the 7-year-old's story, recounted by his father.
Gaines said that his 7-year-old son witnessed the 16-year-old houseguest allegedly put the gun up to his little brother's head, shoot him, and then leave the scene in a white vehicle. Gaines said that his son told him that there were other people in the vehicle, but could not identify them.
Gaines said that he personally had been offshore at work on the day of the shooting. His wife had been "at the washateria" and that his kids were in the care of his 19-year-old sister-in-law.
On March 5, Gaines had told KATC-TV3 that both he and his wife had been leery of the friendships maintained by his 16-year-old houseguest and that Jon'qualon's mother was close to kicking the 16-year-old out of their home. Gaines said that he resisted his wife's attempt to throw out the teenager who is now in custody for the alleged murder of his 5-year-old son.
"I didn't like doing that to people," Gaines said of the idea of removing the teen from his home.
"The crowd that he hangs with . That's all they do is shoot guns," Gaines said during the March 5 interview.
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