Three Baton Rouge residents were killed in two unrelated shootings within a 12-hour period Monday and Tuesday, police said.
The mother of one of the shooting victims found her son and his girlfriend slain inside their 1716 N. Harco Drive apartment just after 8 a.m. Tuesday, said relatives and friends congregated at the scene.
Police said the deaths of Joshua Moore, 28, and Colamecia McQuirter, 25, were not a murder-suicide.
Twelve hours before the couple was shot and killed, a convenience store clerk who had just finished his shift was gunned down in the parking lot of Jim & Lu’s Food Mart, 1701 Government St.
The victim’s family said Montaser Zarrouq, 32, 1548 Del Plaza Drive, is the cousin of a man who was shot and killed less than a month ago during an armed robbery while working at his uncle’s business, Tire Discount, on Plank Road.
Police spokesman Cpl. Tommy Stubbs said Zarrouq’s homicide is not related to the June 19 shooting death of 21-year-old Zaharan Abu Awwad.
The fact that the cousins were killed in recent shootings is “just a crazy coincidence,” Stubbs said.
Alex Asmar, who is a cousin to both Zarrouq and Awwad, said his family is reeling from the deaths.
“We are devastated,” he said. “We also are confused.”
Asmar said his family cannot comprehend why anyone would want to kill either of the men, both of whom are natives of Jerusalem and moved to the United States years ago to work and raise families.
Zarrouq had a wife and five children between the ages of 3 and 13, Asmar said. The shooting victim worked in retail all his life and started at Jim & Lu’s on Government about two months ago, Asmar said.
Zarrouq was shot moments after he finished his shift at the store, Asmar said. The husband and father was sitting inside his car parked in front of the food mart when someone fired four bullets, Asmar said.
The employee inside the store heard the shots and came outside to see what happened, but the shooter had already fled, Asmar said. Zarrouq was taken to a local hospital where he later died, Asmar said.
Stubbs said information police have collected thus far does not point to robbery as a motive. However, Stubbs said, the investigation into Zarrouq’s death is ongoing and facts surrounding the case could change.
Police also are still gathering evidence in the double shooting on North Harco.
Stubbs said police were called to the apartment complex known as Little Vegas at 8:20 a.m. but believe the victims were killed sometime overnight.
Stubbs declined to say whether the shooter broke into the couple’s apartment or whether a murder weapon was found inside. He did say that shortly after discovering the bodies of Moore and McQuirter, police received an anonymous tip from someone who said they heard gunfire in the area throughout the night.
Iceola Moore, Moore’s grandmother, said her daughter lives in the same apartment complex as her grandson and heard gunshots at 3:30 a.m. She looked out her window but did not see anything and went back to bed, Moore said.
The next morning, Moore said, her daughter went to check on her grandson but did not get an answer when she knocked on his door. Fearful that something was wrong, Moore said, her daughter used a knife to pry open a window to her grandson’s apartment.
The daughter crawled inside and found her son and his girlfriend fatally shot, Moore said. Joshua Moore was in the kitchen by the refrigerator, she said. McQuirter was in the bedroom on a bed, Moore said.
Iceola Moore said she does not know why her grandson and his girlfriend were killed but that she had a dream on Sunday that he was badly beaten by members of a gang.
Moore said she begged her grandson, whom she described as quiet and easy, to “stay in the house,” and “keep out of trouble.” When asked if her grandson followed her advice, she said she did not know but that she talked to him about three weeks ago and that “he seemed fine.”
Kim Crockett, a former neighbor of the deceased couple, said Joshua Moore and McQuirter were sweet and loved each other and their three children.
As to why the couple was shot and killed, Crockett said “I just don’t know.”
Anyone with information about either of the fatal shootings can contact police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.