Incident left 2 dead, 6 injured Thursday
Slidell police and U.S. marshals are searching for Jamieon Chatman, 22, a Covington man whom investigators have identified as the gunman responsible for killing two Slidell men and wounding six other people in a shooting spree early Thursday in front of an Olde Towne bar.
Chatman, who has previously been convicted on marijuana charges and for illegally carrying a weapon, is wanted on two counts of second-degree murder and six counts of attempted second-degree murder, police said.
Chatman was identified as the suspect based on interviews with witnesses to the 1:30 a.m. shooting in front of Shooters Social Club on First Street, according to detective Daniel Seuzeneau.
Errol Scott, 22, died on the scene, according to police, who believe the Salmen High School graduate was the gunman’s target.
Mark Womack, 23, a student at Southeastern Louisiana University, died later that morning at a hospital. Police think Womack and the other six victims were bystanders.
Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said additional arrests are likely after Chatman is apprehended because some people who might know where he is have not cooperated with police.
Smith urged anyone with information about Chatman to call the Slidell Police Department at (985) 643-3131 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
“We need all the help we can get,’’ Smith said. “Due to the serious nature of this crime, we are asking all our St. Tammany Parish community to help get this individual off the streets. He is armed and dangerous. To bring some closure to the families, we want him behind bars and off the streets.’’
Chatman has six misdemeanor convictions on his record, the most recent one on March 14 for illegally carrying a weapons and flight from an officer. He had two convictions for marijuana possession and one for theft of goods in 2011 and a disturbing-the-peace conviction in 2010, a reduction from the original charge of resisting an officer.
Last month, he was again booked with possession of marijuana and with his first felony arrest, for aggravated battery. He has not yet been arraigned on those charges.
According to witnesses, Thursday’s shooting happened as the bars in Slidell’s Olde Towne district were closing. A fight broke out near First and Cousin streets, and shots were fired into the crowd, police said.
Witnesses were kept on the scene for several hours after the shooting while police interviewed them, according to Seuzeneau, and investigators also spent hours reviewing video surveillance of the scene.
The sidewalk in front of Shooters that had been stained with blood on Thursday was the site Friday of a small memorial that names both victims and the date of their deaths. A black and gold Salmen High School jersey, cleats, flowers, religious candles and teddy bears are among the items.
There’s also a note to Womack: “I love you so, so much, my baby brother. You will always be in my heart. I will cherish all of our memories forever and always,’’ the note reads in part. It is signed, “your favorite sister, Jayme.’’
Both victims played football, Scott for Salmen High School and Womack for Slidell High.
Artie Liuzza, who coached the Slidell High team all four years that Womack played, recalled him as a hard-working athlete who was a starting offensive lineman his senior year. That was a good year for the Tigers, Liuzza said, and Womack was one of four starting seniors on the line, a tightly knit group of friends.
“He was a fine young man,’’ Liuzza said.
Gregory Bolner, who lives next door to the Womacks, said the young man had one semester of college left. He described the family of two children as a close one, with Mark and his father, Bradley, pursuing hobbies together. They worked on cars and refurbished a boat that the young man had bought. “I saw them doing all that,’’ said Bolner, whose 21-year-old son was close to Mark. The families often went four-wheeling and camping together.
“This happened next door,’’ Bolner said of the crime. “He is the kid next door.’’
Crimestoppers has increased its reward offer from $5,000 to $7,500, with up to $4,000 to be paid upon the arrest of the suspect and the remainder upon indictment. CEO Darlene Cusanza said the group hopes the additional money will “bring a swift arrest.’’
Callers must contact Crimestoppers directly to be eligible for this cash reward. Callers can remain anonymous and do not have to testify to receive the reward.