Baton Rouge police Tuesday arrested a man accused of fatally shooting another man inside an apartment on La Annie Drive on Aug. 1 and then demanding at gunpoint that the witnesses remove the victim’s body.
Reginald Pickett Jr., 19, 12254 La Margie St., Apt. 71, surrendered to police and was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon in the shooting of Lezzell James, police Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., said.
Police issued a warrant for Pickett’s arrest eight days ago.
James’ grandmother, Dorothy Jenkins, said Tuesday that she has already forgiven Pickett because the Bible tells her to but she still wants him held accountable for his actions.
“I just want to see him punished,” Jenkins said of Pickett. “I just want him to sit around and be able think about what he did and how he did it. That’s all.”
Jenkins said the night her 17-year-old grandson was shot, he told her he was going to a friend’s house to stay overnight and she did not know he was going to the apartment complex.
A friend of the family who lived near the apartment complex awakened Jenkins with news no family wants to hear.
“She beat on the door, scared me half to death and said she thinks that’s my grandson down on the ground dead,” Jenkins said. “When they came and told me he was dead, my mouth was open because he wasn’t supposed to be back there.”
According to the arrest warrant, James arrived at Apt. 33 in the complex at 1737 La Annie Drive shortly after 12 a.m. Aug. 1.
Right when James walked through the door, Pickett walked up to him, pushed him, pulled out a handgun and shot him once in the chest, the warrant says.
Pickett then pointed the gun at the three people inside the apartment and demanded they bring the body outside, the warrant says.
The witnesses told police they tried to get help, but could not, the warrant says.
After the people carried James’ body outside, Pickett fired one shot in the air and told them to run, the warrant says.
James died about 30 minutes after the shooting, the warrant says.
Jenkins and about 10 family members sat underneath the carport Tuesday outside their East Black Oak Drive home and fondly remembered the man they knew as “Zell.”
Jenkins said James loved children, movies and had a playful nature.
“He loved his music. I used to have to take it out of his ears several times, telling him this was a Christian house,” Jenkins said, drawing laughs from family as they talked about James’ love for rap and artist Mr. Kane.
James, who was set to start his sophomore year at Belaire High School, was described as well-liked by his teachers and a class clown who made others laugh.
“He wasn’t a bad boy, he was very respectable also,” Jenkins said.
James’ uncle, Michael James, urged the District Attorney’s Office to make an example of Pickett.
“You took our nephew, we want you prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “An example has got to be made. You put that face up there and say ‘This is what happens when you kill.’ ”