EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - After questioning the man they believed to be responsible for the four recent drive-by shootings in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes, officials have arrested and charged Ryan Sharpe, 36, on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
A recently-formed task force in East Feliciana began pursuing leads early Wednesday afternoon after being involved in a high-speed chase spanning multiple parishes with a white car matching the description given by a witness of one of the shootings.
Sharpe, the driver of the car, was said to be armed at the time of his apprehension and was detained at gunpoint before being brought to the Louisiana State Police Violent Crimes Unit for questioning. His car was towed to the LSP Crime Lab for processing.
Information obtained from Sharpe's arrest report goes into more details regarding each of the shootings.
On September 19, 66-year-old former BREC Commissioner Carroll Breeden was fatally shot outside of his home while doing yard work.
Detectives with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and began speaking with witnesses who said they heard two gunshots just before 4 p.m. in the 15000 block of Port Hudson-Pride Rd.
Breeden was struck one time in the upper torso and was pronounced dead after all attempts to resuscitate failed. Detectives say they were able to locate one slug with a brass casing of an unknown caliber in the driveway near the victim's body.
During the investigation, EBRSO detectives learned the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office was investigating a similar incident from July 8 where they found Tommy Bass, 61, shot and killed outside of his home along Hwy. 960. They say he was also struck by one round.
On September 12, EFSO deputies responded to a shooting near the intersection of Hwy. 63 and Hwy. 960 in Clinton, La. This time, the victim, Buck Hornsby, was reportedly hit by two shotgun blasts while exercising outside of his home, leaving 37 pellets in his body. One of them narrowly missed his carotid artery. Hornsby survived the attack.
On October 9, EFSO detectives responded to yet another shooting on Hwy. 63 in Clinton. The victim was identified as Brad DeFranceschi, a well-known member of the Boy Scout community. Police say he appeared to have been struck in the upper torso while weed eating in the front yard of his home.
According to the arrest report, DeFranceschi's wife said she was inside the house when she heard gunshots. When she looked out the front door, she saw a white, four-door car, with tinted windows, stopped in the street.
The LSP Crime Lab was contacted to investigate the scene. While searching the area, detectives located cartridge casings near the roadway and a bullet recovered from the wall of DeFranceschi's house. Video footage from area locations showed a white, 2010-2012 Nissan Altima in the area of the shooting.
Based on the time of the shooting, investigators determined the car was connected to the shooter and it appeared the driver was a white male.
Forensic examiners at the LSP Crime Lab confirmed the bullet recovered from Breeden's driveway matched the bullet recovered from DeFranceschi's house.
During the investigation, Sharpe was developed as a suspect in the shootings. With all four incidents having numerous similarities, a multi-agency task force, which included members from EBRSO, LSP, EFSO, FBI, U.S. Marshal's Office, and investigators from the 19th JDC District Attorney's Office, was formed to investigate the shootings.
Investigators in the area spotted a white Altima leaving Sharpe's residence on Hwy. 959 on Wednesday, October 11, at approximately 2:45 p.m. They attempted to stop the car, but the driver refused to stop and a high-speed chase ensued.
Police say the car was ultimately forced to stop on Lee Price Rd. in East Baton Rouge Parish and Sharpe was the only person inside. Arresting officers say a lever-action rifle was laying on the passenger seat, and that Sharpe was detained at gunpoint. Sharpe was taken to the Violent Crimes Unit for questioning and the car he was driving was towed to the LSP Crime Lab to be processed.
Members of the task force staged themselves in front of Sharpe's home, located off of Hwy. 959 in Clinton, to issue a search warrant.
During a press conference Wednesday night outside of the Violent Crimes Unit, East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Jeff Travis said Sharpe confessed to all three homicides and the shooting of Hornsby, but the Sheriff did not elaborate on a possible motive.
Sharpe was formally charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder and will be booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Watch the full press conference below:
Read the probable cause report below: