"Strong possibility" killings of 2 black men from Louisiana were racially motivated

Police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said on Sunday there was a "strong possibility" that the killings of two black men last week were racially motivated.

The suspect, Kenneth Gleason, was being held on drug charges because law enforcement did not have enough evidence to charge him with murder.

BRPD says 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason, of Baton Rouge, was questioned at-length about both shootings and was not charged in connection to either.

The first shooting Tuesday night near Florida Blvd involved a homeless man later identified as Bruce Cofield, 59. But shell casings from the shootings and a auto belonging to Gleason match a description of the shooter.

Mary Smart, Smart's aunt, said her nephew had two daughters but didn't comment on whether she felt the killing could have been racially motivated. "My nephew, I love him, and he was on his way to work and that makes it so sad", she said in a telephone interview on Sunday. No one answered the door at his house in a quiet neighbourhood of mostly ranch-style homes with well-kept lawns, located about 10 miles from the sites of the shootings.

Police say while searching Gleason's home, detectives found about 9 grams of marijuana in a hallway bathroom, and testosterone enanthate, also known as human growth hormones, in his bedroom.

Police have not said what led them to believe the shootings were racially motivated. After Gleason was read his Miranda rights, he claimed ownership of the drugs, the document said. A year ago, racial tensions roiled the city when a black man was shot to death by white police officers outside of a convenience store.