Man charged in Baton Rouge killings; police investigate racial motivations

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A 23-year-old Louisiana man was charged with murder Tuesday in a pair of Baton Rouge shootings that police have said may have been racially motivated.

Kenneth Gleason, 23, was charged in connection with two killings that happened last week — and with attempted murder in a separate incident.

The victims in the fatal shootings, 49-year-old Donald Smart and 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, were shot to death two days and a couple of miles apart, authorities said.

Police said Monday that in both instances, the suspect shot the victim from a vehicle. After the victims fell, the shooter got out of the car, walked to the victims and fired several more shots.

Shell casings found at the scenes, descriptions of the shooter’s car and witness accounts helped investigators link the incidents, authorities said.