US marshal shot to death, suspect wounded in La.

Police were searching for a suspect in a double murder when the gunfire exchange occurred

Duty Death: Josie Wells - [Scotlandville, Louisiana]

End of Service: 03/10/2015

By Cain Burdeau
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A deputy U.S. marshal was killed Tuesday in a shootout on the outskirts of Baton Rouge while trying to arrest a fugitive wanted in the slayings of a brother and sister, officials said.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells was killed about 11 a.m., said Drew Wade, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service. Wells was 27 and assigned to a Marshals office in Mississippi.

Suspect Jamie D. Croom.
Suspect Jamie D. Croom. (Police Image)

Wade said the fugitive, Jamie D. Croom, 31, was shot and taken to a hospital. His condition was not immediately available.

Croom, who was wanted in the shooting deaths of a brother and sister in New Roads, Louisiana, according to Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Beauregard Torres III.

"Deputy marshals risk their lives every day going after the worst of the worst," Wade said. "This is a sad day for law enforcement."

The last time a deputy marshal was killed in the line of duty in the U.S. was in March 2011.

The shootout took place in Scotlandville, an area north of Baton Rouge.

A task force led by federal Marshals was serving an arrest warrant when the shootout took place, Torres said.

The sheriff said Croom had been on the run since a Feb. 20 shooting outside the Sugar Shack nightclub in Pointe Coupee, a rural parish about 20 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

Torres said Croom faced two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Lechelle Rita Williams, 42, and her 38-year-old brother Sinica Lee Williams.

Croom, a resident of New Roads, had a lengthy criminal record, Torres said.

"He was a dangerous criminal," Torres said. "It was a very high price to pay for this warrant to bring this man into custody. It was a very, very high price."

Torres said investigators have not established a motive in the shootings of the brother and sister.

Wade said the FBI would lead the investigation into the shooting death of Wells. The FBI referred questions Tuesday to the Marshals Service.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press


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