Custody Visit Leads to Murder Charges, 3 Arrests | information

HAMMOND — A 21-year-old Hammond man was shot dead Tuesday during an altercation related to a custody visit, according to the Tangipahoa Community Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Jimmy Travis said Howard Watkins Jr. was allegedly shot by 25-year-old Ajante Jackson, also from Hammond, while Jackson was visiting his children. According to detectives, Jackson shares two children with a friend of Watkins’ and had asked to see his children.

Upon arriving at the meeting point, Jackson allegedly opened fire on Watkins’ vehicle, which was being occupied by Watkins, the female acquaintance and the two children, Travis said. Watkins quickly fled to his father’s residence on Happywoods Road, near the Club Deluxe Road junction, with Jackson and 20-year-old Chardonay Washington of Hammond in hot pursuit.

Arriving at his father’s apartment, Watkins was hit again by Jackson and a physical altercation ensued in the driveway. Jackson then allegedly shot Watkins, who continued to fight him, Travis said.

Watkins’ father, Howard Watkins Sr., watched his son being shot and came to his knife-armed son’s aid. According to Travis, when Watkins Sr. tried to defend his son, Jackson also allegedly shot him.

Jackson and Washington fled the scene to East Jefferson Hospital in Metairie and were eventually transferred to University Hospital in New Orleans for injuries sustained during the incident.

Upon their release, Jackson and Washington were taken into custody by the Orleans Township Sheriff’s Office. Washington was committed to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail, while Jackson remains in the Orleans Parish Jail awaiting transfer to Tangipahoa Parish.

Jackson is charged with one count of second-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of cruelty to juveniles and a convicted felon of possession of a firearm.

Washington faces one charge of second-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one charge of obstruction of justice — evidence tampering.

Jemario Dyson, 27, of Kentwood, was also taken into custody during the investigation. He faces one charge of resisting an officer with violence or violence, one charge of disturbing the peace and one charge of assaulting a police officer.

At this point, Watkins Sr. is not charged with a crime, Travis said, and according to witnesses, Watkins Jr. was unarmed throughout the incident.

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