The Latest: Aunt in shock over nephew’s death in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – The Latest on the slayings of two black men in Baton Rouge that police believe were racially motivated (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

The aunt of a black man who was killed in what police believe was a racially motivated attack says she is still dealing with the shock of her nephew’s death.

Mary Smart, Donald Smart’s aunt, told The Associated Press on Sunday that she could not understand what had happened. She says her nephew was always smiling and hugging everybody, and had a son and two daughters.

She declined to comment on police allegations that her nephew might have been shot because of the color of his skin.

Baton Rouge police say there is a “strong possibility” that Smart’s slaying and the killing of a homeless man were racially motivated. They have a suspect – a 23-year-old white man – in custody and they are holding him on unrelated drug charges.

They have not said why they believe the shootings were racially motivated.

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9:45 a.m.

Authorities in Baton Rouge say there is a “strong possibility” that the slayings of two black men last week were racially motivated.

Baton Rouge Sgt. L’Jean McKneely told The Associated Press on Sunday that authorities have a person of interest – a 23-year-old white man – in custody.

The man is being held on drug charges. McKneely says police do not yet have enough evidence to charge him with murder. He says shell casings from each killing matched and a car belonging to Kenneth Gleason, the person of interest, fit the description of the vehicle police were looking for.

Police say the shootings happened about 5 miles from each other. The first occurred Tuesday when 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, who was homeless, was shot to death.

The second happened Thursday when 49-year-old Donald Smart was gunned down walking to work.