Grand jury indicts Baton Rouge man in killing at State Fair

An 18-year-old Baton Rouge man with a history of gun-related offenses is now under indictment in the fatal Nov. 2 shooting at the crowded Greater Baton Rouge State Fair.

An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Keithdrick Lamond Pier, 3427 Aletha Drive, on a second-degree murder charge Thursday. He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged in the killing of Darrius Scott, 20, of Baton Rouge.

Pier remains at Parish Prison. His case has been assigned to state District Judge Chip Moore.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday he does not believe Pier has hired a lawyer.

Court documents show Pier violated his probation the night of the shooting in merely being at the fair past 10 p.m. He was placed on probation for two years after pleading guilty in August to simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.

State District Judge Trudy White ordered him to perform 40 hours of community service, obtain a GED, take a tour of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, live with his mother and keep a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to court records.

The charge stemmed from an April 9 burglary in which Pier broke into a home on Kings Canyons Drive and stole a .357-caliber handgun.

About two weeks later, he was accused of discharging a gun on Saurage Drive. Three witnesses told police Pier fired the gun, and police found eight bullets in his pocket, an affidavit says.

In November 2012, Pier was booked with illegal carrying of a weapon and resisting an officer. After an officer told him to clear a roadway, Pier reached for his waistband and fled on foot, jumping a fence. He later dropped the gun before throwing his hands up and surrendering.

Pier told police he bought the gun for $50 and always carried it in his waistband because he needed protection, according to a police report.

Deputies arrested Pier in the State Fair shooting based on descriptions several witnesses gave of the suspect’s clothing, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

One witness who implicated Pier in the shooting said he saw him remove the gun from his waist and walk up to Scott, the affidavit says. Another witness told investigators he saw Pier turn away from Scott with the gun in his hand, leaving the dying man on the ground.

Both witnesses said they heard two shots. Shell casings were found near a concession stand.

Fair Chairman Cliff Barton has said workers closed the gates at about 11:15 p.m., but thousands of patrons were still milling around the park when the shooting occurred about 15 minutes later. When the shooting happened, he said, patrons headed toward the exits — some walking, some running.

Fair organizers said they’re weighing additional security measures for this year’s event. The potential safety improvements include screening fairgoers with metal detector wands; installing metal detectors at the gate; and barring minors from entering fairgrounds without a parent after a certain hour.

Barton said the fair has an emergency plan for situations such as a shooting, and getting guests out of the park safely is the first priority. The fair has a “no gun policy,” he said, and although fair officials check all bags, purses and backpacks, they don’t check every person who enters the fairgrounds.

Security cameras cover various areas of the fairgrounds, but there were none in the area where the shooting occurred. Adding more cameras to cover the entirety of the grounds is a possibility, Barton said.