A husband and father of two young children was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon outside his McClelland Drive apartment complex following
an argument with four other men who remain at large, police said.
Royal Anthony Jones, 28, an assistant manager at Family Dollar, was sitting with a group of friends in the parking lot outside the Palms Apartments at 5665 McClelland Drive when he received a text message at 1:15 p.m., his estranged wife, Nicole Jones, 25, said.
A little later, a vehicle with four men in it pulled up to the parking lot, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
The men started arguing with Royal Jones, McKneely said, and at some point, one of the them told nearby women and children to go inside.
By 2:40 p.m., Jones’ body lay on the pavement with at least one gunshot wound to the head, McKneely said.
The warning text message had come from Jones’ girlfriend, said Nicole Jones, who had been with him for eight years before separating last year.
“She texted him saying, ‘Call me, it’s important,’ ” said Nicole Jones, who looked through Royal Jones’ cellphone after the shooting.
Police cited an “ongoing feud” as the motive for the killing, McKneely said.
But Royal Jones was not a fighter, Nicole Jones said.
Nicole Jones met Royal Jones when he was the drum major of their high school band at G.W. Carver High School in New Orleans, she said.
Royal Jones studied music at Southern University, before dropping out to support his family, Nicole Jones said. When Royal Jones was not working long hours at Family Dollar, he was invariably spending time with his son, Roy Jr., 4, and daughter, Layor Rajay, 7, she said.
“He got along with everybody. He had no enemies. It’s just not him. All the stuff they have going on in these apartments — he wasn’t no part of it,” Nicole Jones said. “It had something to do with the girl.”
Charles Caldwell, the apartment’s on-site manager, said Royal Jones was a “family man” with a “wonderful personality.”
A neighbor and friend, Lakeema Remo, said she had been sitting outside in the group with Royal Jones just before he was shot. She said the group had dissipated right before the shooting.
“That’s the crazy part,” Remo said. “Right when everybody cleared out, we heard the gunshots and came out and he was just lying there.”
The victim’s mother, Pauline Carter, said she never expected her “good child” to be killed in a shooting.
“It was over a girl or something,” Carter said. “That’s all I know. My son, he never got in no trouble. He was a wonderful child.”
Carter said she hoped whoever killed her son would surrender to police.
“They know what they did,” she said. “Royal didn’t deserve to die.”
Anyone with information on this crime can contact police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.