If it's a case of a murder, of opportunity, or simply an attempted robbery that led to a shooting, this story would be bad enough. But what if it's a hate crime? Does that make a murder more than a murder? In this week's Crime Stoppers report, how misperception may have turned into murder.
Put aside any bias you might have about different lifestyles, and focus on the fact that someone was murdered, and someone else has gotten away with it. Back on April 14th of last year, two men were gunned down at an apartment complex in the 3,000 block of Oswego. 29-year-old Donnie Crockett and his friend, we'll just call him Kendrick, were returning after a night out. In the parking lot, they noticed a car full of men.
"As they were walking up the stairs, one of the black males got out of the car and began coming up the stairs towards them," says Detective John Colter.
As Donnie and Kendrick made their way toward the apartment, the man confronted them with a gun. When the shooter approached and said "don't move," both Donnie and Kendrick bolted for the stairs. The shooter opened fire, and both men were hit. Donnie fell. He would never get up again.
Though Donnie Crockett was dead, his friend survived. But to this day, he still struggles with his injuries. What you need to know about the two that evening, they were dressed as women.
"They pulled up and saw two people and assumed they were woman and seen that one of them had a purse," says Donnie's mother, Margarett Crockett.
Did the shooter believe they were two women, and thought them to be easy targets, or did he know who they were? Donnie's mother knows one thing for sure... the last time she saw her son, at the hospital, is something she will never forget.
"I could see him lying, with a sheet over him, naked from the waist up. A bullet hole in his side and a bullet hole in the left side of his head. Blood was in his hair and dripping onto the pillow. That's my last view of my son."
Police believe there is absolutely someone out there that knows something about this. Detective Colter says, "There's always gossip, word gets around. Anytime more than one person is involved in a crime, the secret's out."
Margarett Crockett has two other sons who live out-of-state. But Donnie lived with her, and her loss can't be measured. "He was my best friend, I was with him every day. He lived with me. I just keep the door to his room shut, because I think he's in there asleep. I can't explain to you what it's like to lose a child."
And she shouldn't have to.
If you think you can help Baton Rouge Police, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You can remain anonymous and you may be eligible for a reward of up to 1,000 dollars.