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2 Louisiana slayings likely racially motivated, police say

Sun-Times file photo

BATON ROUGE, La. — Authorities in Baton Rouge say there is a “strong possibility” that the slayings of two black men last week were racially motivated.

Baton Rouge Sgt. L’Jean McKneely told The Associated Press on Sunday that authorities have a person of interest — a 23-year-old white man — in custody.

The man is being held on drug charges. McKneely says police do not yet have enough evidence to charge him with murder. He says shell casings from each killing matched and a car belonging to Kenneth Gleason, the person of interest, fit the description of the vehicle police were looking for.

Police say the shootings happened about 5 miles from each other. The first occurred Tuesday when 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, who was homeless, was shot to death.

The second happened Thursday when 49-year-old Donald Smart was gunned down walking to work.