BR police seek DNA in unsolved shooting death

Detectives investigating the fatal shooting of a Baton Rouge man in late February are seeking to identify a suspect through DNA testing, according to court documents.

Tivon B. Tarvin, 34, was shot in the head at 10 p.m. Feb. 27 while sitting behind the wheel of a sports utility vehicle in the 1500 block of Spain Street, police have said. Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, said the case remains under investigation.

“We are still looking for information that will lead to the identity of the suspects,” Stubbs said.

Investigators concluded that Tarvin was heading west on Spain Street in a rented 2012 Hyundai Sante Fe when an unidentified passenger shot him in the head, according to a recently filed affidavit that offered new details about the killing.

Detectives collected a spent shell casing on the floorboard of the Hyundai’s front passenger seat and found the bullet inside an abandoned warehouse nearby, the affidavit says. The vehicle apparently traveled a few feet after Tarvin was shot before coming to a rest at South 15th Street, the affidavit says.

“The vehicle’s engine was running and the gear shift was in ‘neutral’ position,” the warrant says, adding the driver’s side window had been shattered.

Detectives tried to contact a woman who had rented the vehicle from Enterprise on Feb. 21, the affidavit says, but were not immediately able to reach her. Investigators took swab samples from the front passenger seat and also collected hair strands, according to court records.

Tarvin’s death was one of two homicides recorded in East Baton Rouge Parish in February. There were nine homicides parishwide in January and two in March, according to records compiled by The Advocate.

The parish has seen 13 homicides this year through the end of March, compared with 23 homicides over the first three months of 2012, according to records compiled by The Advocate.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the stretch between Jan. 23 and Tarvin’s killing on Feb. 27 marked the “second longest stretch” in recent history in which there were no homicides within the city limits. Moore, addressing officials at a quarterly meeting of the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project last week, said that Tarvin had been “at risk” because he was allegedly a drug dealer.

“That’s a difficult case to solve because of the nature of it,” Moore said.

Court records show Tarvin had a criminal history and had been facing marijuana distribution charges at the time of his death.