Police say one shot to death in quarrel over cocaine; other arrested
LAFAYETTE — Two brothers from Honduras, highly intoxicated after partying at the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City on Friday night, got into a deadly fight after arguing about purchasing cocaine, police said.
When it was over, 29-year-old Mario Enrique Barahona Ariano lay shot to death at the home the brothers shared in the 700 block of Federal Avenue, near the heart of the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival’s festivities, Morgan City police Spokesman Lt. James F. Blair said.
Nearby lay the .38-caliber revolver that the victim’s older brother, Jose Fernando Ariano, 34, threw to the floor after realizing what he’d just done, Blair said. He ran away, then returned to the house and was booked on one count of manslaughter, Blair said.
“He was remorseful. After it happened, he threw the gun and just kind of freaked out,” Blair said.
The brothers and a group of friends, other Hondurans who, like the Arianos, worked as oil-field laborers, had attended the festival that is held each year over the Labor Day weekend.
“They had one too many hurricanes” and were highly intoxicated, Blair said.
He added that the two were arguing over somebody going to buy cocaine when the older Ariano fired the gun. He said the fight involved the brothers and another man, whom police did not identify and who was not injured.
“During the argument, the gun discharged, with the bullet striking the victim in the upper torso,” police said in a prepared statement. “The wound proved to be fatal.”
Blair said investigators do not know if the brothers had ingested cocaine or other drugs before the shooting; toxicology tests are pending.
According to the statement, Morgan City police at first treated the incident as a homicide “until detectives could determine what had taken place and the identity of the gunman.”
The shooting remains under investigation, and Ariano remains in the Morgan City jail, where bond has been set at $250,000.