Suspect arrested after woman was fatally shot while driving down road in New Orleans

The FBI and various law enforcement agencies have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant in New Orleans late Tuesday, authorities said Wednesday. A suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday…

Suspect arrested after woman was fatally shot while driving down road in New Orleans

The FBI and various law enforcement agencies have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant in New Orleans late Tuesday, authorities said Wednesday.

A suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon in connection with the shooting, the FBI said in a statement. A preliminary investigation determined that Avant was shot while traveling in a car near the intersection of Lakeview Boulevard and Second Street. She died at a hospital, police said.

According to CNN affiliate WDSU, police say the suspect, William Whitaker, was on parole when he shot Avant in a case of mistaken identity. WDSU reports the 31-year-old had a lengthy criminal history, including two previous murders.

US Attorney Duane “Dee” Larson said in a statement Wednesday that authorities will offer an “extensive reward” to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Avant’s death.

Earlier, New Orleans police described the shooting as a targeted attack.

“It’s a pretty good assumption at this point that she was just randomly targeted,” NOPD Chief Michael Harrison told reporters on Wednesday.

“We believe that in her opinion, whatever individual approached her passenger side with a handgun, that the individual pulled the trigger (and) shot her,” Harrison said.

Police are still searching for other suspects, but were familiar with Whitaker and had investigated him in the past, according to Harrison. They had also laid out a timeline of events in which he may have been involved, CNN affiliate WDSU reported.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by WDSU, Whitaker was flagged down by a witness who claimed that Whitaker had approached her vehicle in the area, identified himself as a detective, then threatened to arrest her “over an old run-in” with “some dudes.”

The witness explained that Whitaker demanded that the witness hand over her purse, according to the complaint. When the witness refused, Whitaker was allegedly given a .45 caliber handgun, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, the witness asked Whitaker to call back a short time later. He never called back. The witness contacted police, who reached out to the other witness who described the incident from the witness’s vantage point.

The complaint reads: “The witness stated that (Whitaker) was in a car matching the description of (Whitaker’s) vehicle and was stated to be talking to ‘my boyfriend’ or ‘my baby’s daddy’ prior to (Whitaker) exiting his vehicle.”

The document continues, “(Whitaker) said ‘just tell your boy I’m with the police and I’ll come back’ or ‘I’ll get off at Wal-Mart.’”

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