BR Police using cellphone tracking device to find suspect

Derrick Lee Jr.
Derrick Lee Jr.

Baton Rouge police used a tracking device in an iPhone 5 that was stolen Friday to apprehend the man accused in the robbery and shooting that left two victims fighting for their lives in a Baton Rouge hospital.

Police arrested Derrick Lee Jr., 19, 6336 Dutton St., Baton Rouge, early Saturday and booked him into Parish Prison on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and false imprisonment with a weapon and one count each of possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance, resisting an officer and possession of marijuana.

Police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said tracking devices in cellphones can be a valuable tool for law enforcement.

“It helps investigators, but a lot of times, it’s a case-by-case basis,” he said. “In this case, it helped because the person did have a tracking device and knew their ID and password and was able to help track the phone.”

Coppola said Lee is not related to convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, who was convicted of killing two women and suspected of killing five more in south Louisiana between 1998 and 2003.

The robbery occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Friday in the 11000 block of Bard Avenue, near North Sherwood Forest Drive. Both men are expected to survive.

The victims told police that a man they knew as Snoop, later identified as Lee, held them at gunpoint for 20 minutes, stole their cellphones and shot them several times in their torsos, the affidavit of probable cause said.

After the shooting, Lee fled the scene and East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Medical Services transported the victims to a hospital.

At the hospital, the victims, ages 31 and 33, and the wife of one of the victims told police the attacker carried a “large gun with a magazine that appeared to hang out the bottom of the gun,” the affidavit said.

Detectives identified Lee as the man known as Snoop by cross-checking the name and description with another case, the affidavit said.

One of the victims told detectives his stolen cellphone, an iPhone 5, had a GPS tracking system in it and they could trace it using the iCloud tracking system, the affidavit said.

Detectives accessed the iCloud system using the victim’s ID and password and iCloud pinpointed the location of the phone as 6336 Dutton, the affidavit said.

After arriving at the house, detectives called the stolen phone and heard it ringing inside the house, the affidavit said.

Detectives obtained a search warrant and found Lee sleeping inside the house with his hands underneath his chest, the affidavit said.

“Fearing the defendant was armed, detectives began giving loud verbal commands and advised the defendant to show his hands,” the arresting officer wrote in the affidavit. “The defendant would not show his hands and pulled away from detectives until detectives were finally able to secure both arms and rolled the defendant off of the bed onto the floor.”

On the bed, hidden by Lee’s body, detectives found a Llama .45-caliber pistol with an extended magazine, the affidavit said.

Once they had Lee in handcuffs, they called the victim’s phone again and it rang in the front pocket of Lee’s sweatshirt, the affidavit said.

Lee told detectives during questioning that he knew the victims and he had been to the residence, the affidavit said.

Detectives are investigating to see if there were other people involved in the shooting and robbery, Coppola said.