Alsen couple shaken by family shooting outside home

Raymond Gray and Betty Jean Cross were lying down Tuesday evening when they heard a doorbell, then the sound of three gunshots outside their Alsen home.

The couple arose as quickly as they could, walked outside and found a scene they still have trouble comprehending.

Gray’s son Jerry Gray, 52, lay in the driveway, shot to death.

Cross’ son, Eugene Cross, who deputies say shot the victim, was running inside the home, yelling for someone to call 911.

Jerry Gray had been shot multiple times.

Minutes before, Jerry Gray had been outside arguing with an uncle after a confrontation between the two that started inside the home became heated.

“It hurt me so bad to see my son Jerry lying dead,” Raymond Gray, 81, said over and over Wednesday, his eyes hollow as he stared into the distance.

Casey Rayborn Hicks, spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, said the investigation is still in the early stages, but Eugene Cross, 50, shot Jerry Gray at about 9:25 p.m. in front of the home at 252 Dotson Ave. and claimed it was an act of self-defense.

He was detained and questioned late Tuesday, but not arrested, Hicks said.

“The shooter called us and remained on scene until we arrived,” she said.

Hicks said Eugene Cross turned in his handgun for ballistics evaluation and was allowed to go home to Texas, where Betty Cross said he works for the Department of Justice in Beaumont, Texas.

No one was available at the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday afternoon to confirm Eugene Cross’ employment.

Hicks said the incident remains under investigation and Eugene Cross could still be arrested at a later date depending on the outcome of the investigation.

On Wednesday afternoon, Raymond Gray and Betty Cross struggled to process what happened and were still searching for answers.

“I’m so sorry about all this,” said Betty Cross, 71, looking at the man she’s lived with and loved for 21 years. “I don’t know what to do.”

The couple said they haven’t been told by sheriff’s detectives or Eugene Cross exactly what happened.

Betty Cross said all she knows is what her son told his sister-in-law — that Jerry Gray pulled a knife on him and that he shot him in self-defense.

The sons of the couple knew each other, but were never together much because both had moved out by the time the couple met and started their lives together.

Their sons followed far different paths.

Eugene Cross spent several years in the U.S. Army before joining the Department of Justice in Beaumont, Texas, while Jerry Gray has had numerous run-ins with the law since the late ’70s, including several stretches in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for a variety of offenses.

In fact, Betty Jean Cross and Raymond Gray were due to appear in court Wednesday to testify against Jerry Gray after he allegedly attacked her in July.