A Waggaman man was convicted Thursday night (Dec. 15) for his involvement in a retaliatory ambush-style shooting of a Marrero woman and her 2-year-old son, who was struck in his chest by a bullet as he walked with his mother to their apartment.
Kedrick “KK” Anderson, 24, faces up to 50 years in prison for each of the two counts of attempted second-degree murder. A Jefferson Parish jury returned with its guilty-as-charged verdicts at 10:30 p.m., Thursday.
The 25-year-old woman and her toddler were walking between buildings at an apartment complex in the 2800 block of Mount Kennedy Drive, about 11 p.m. on July 13, 2013, when three gunmen opened fire in an ambush. Bullets struck buildings and a shed, as the woman dropped to the ground.
One bullet struck the child in the chest and exited his back, as his mother crawled through the grass to the toddler. She picked up her son and ran around a building to escape to her nearby apartment, according to testimony.
As the woman ran away from the gunfire, she heard more gunshots. She emerged from between two buildings and noticed Anderson, holding a rifle and standing near large garbage bins behind the apartment complex. Anderson fired the rifle but not the bullet that injured the child.
The woman escaped to her apartment, where 911 was called. EMS was dispatched. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Lewis arrived at the apartment, picked up the wounded child and rushed him to paramedics outside, likely saving his life, according to testimony.
The shooting was one in a chain of violent crimes in 2013 involving a dispute between two groups of people who targeted one-another in seeking street justice. The woman and her child were fired upon because of their connection to the child’s father, Antoine Payne, whom his rivals suspected cooperated with police in a 2010 armed robbery case.
Based upon the spent bullet casings recovered at the scene, investigators determined that four firearms were used in the shooting. Two were 9mm pistols, one was a .45-caliber pistol and the fourth was an AK-47 assault rifle, based on the 7.62 by 39mm caliber casings. Those casings were the only ones that could be fired from a rifle, Sheriff’s Office firearms examiner Jené Rauch testified.
The AK-47 casings were recovered from near the garbage bins, where Anderson stood with a rifle during the shooting.
One of the 9mm pistols also was used in two homicides, in Marrero and Metairie, and a shoot-out that continued across the Crescent City Connection to the elevated Westbank Expressway in Gretna on July 16, 2013, detective Sgt. Gary Barteet testified.
The investigation of the shooting of the mother and son continued without results for three months, until Deputy Joseph Ragas spoke with the victim’s family. Ragas knew the victim’s family, an association that provided him with the opportunity to meet with the woman in October 2013. The woman eventually identified the men who shot at her and her son.
“She was afraid,” Ragas testified. “She was afraid to come forward.”
The dispute which led to her son getting shot stemmed from a 2010 armed robbery case, in which Payne pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and received a three-year prison sentence. His co-defendant pleaded guilty to armed robbery and received a 20-year prison sentence. Payne’s plea to a lesser charge led acquaintances to suspect that he cooperated with law enforcement in order to get less prison time.
As such, Payne became a target for violent acts. The victim of the Mount Kennedy shooting testified she was unaware of the ongoing problems her children’s father was having with his rivals. In testimony on Wednesday, she blamed Payne for her son getting shot.
A month after the Mount Kennedy shooting, on Aug. 12, 2013, Payne fired three gunshots from a distance at a car driven by the 22-year-old mother of Anderson’s children as she drove in the 900 block of Beechgrove Boulevard in Bridge City. The woman’s 1-year-old son was in the car with her.
No one was injured, but the woman identified Payne as the gunman. She also said she believed she was targeted in retaliation for the Mount Kennedy shooting, in which Payne’s son was wounded.
For that crime, Payne pleaded guilty last year to aggravated assault and received a 2-year prison sentence followed by three years of probation, the first year of which is to be spent in home incarceration.
Anderson, in testifying on Thursday, denied involvement in the shooting and testified that the woman wrongly identified him. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Anderson on Jan. 17.
Assistant District Attorneys Angad Ghai and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.