Dispute over girl cited in fatal BR shooting

Police arrested a teenager Thursday accused of fatally shooting another teen in a fit of jealousy outside a north Baton Rouge apartment complex earlier this week.

Jamal Variste, 18, 1734 N. 27th St., was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish prison on counts of second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon in the slaying early Tuesday of Devonta Jenks, 18, said Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

An anonymous tip led investigators to Variste, who is accused of confronting Jenks outside a Denham Street apartment complex about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday because he was jealous of Jenks’ relationship with a woman who lived there, Coppola said.

The woman, whose age was unavailable Thursday, was about six months pregnant with Jenks’ child at the time of his death, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Variste is accused of firing a single gunshot at Jenks, which struck him in the chest.

Jenks ran a short distance and collapsed on a sidewalk outside the Spanish Arms Apartments, where he died as a result of the gunshot wound, according to the sworn affidavit.

The relationship between Variste and the pregnant woman was unclear Thursday afternoon, Coppola said.

The shooting marked the first reported killing this year in the 70805 ZIP code, which is one of the areas of focus in the city-parish’s anti-crime initiative, the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination program.

Recently, BRAVE efforts expanded into the adjacent 70802 ZIP code, in which the majority of this year’s killings have happened.