House of man killed Friday night destroyed in overnight fire, BRFD says; man arrested at scene

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Residents of the 2500 block of Thomas H. Delpit Drive have witnessed their street wrapped in yellow police tape twice in

Residents of the 2500 block of Thomas H. Delpit Drive have witnessed their street wrapped in yellow police tape twice in the past five days, on Friday when two men from the neighborhood were gunned down while trying to fix up a fire-damaged house and on Tuesday when the home of another recently slain man was consumed in a blaze.

About 2 a.m. Tuesday, residents woke up to see firefighters and officers blocking off the street around the burning house of 68-year-old David Walker, who was killed four nights earlier on Seneca Street.

So far, authorities have found no obvious connections among the recent killings and the house fires.

Walker, who police found fatally shot in a car late Friday night, lived alone at the house, according to his neighbors. Curt Monte, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said the blaze started in the bedroom, but the flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived.

Monte said the small home on Thomas H. Delpit Drive was completely destroyed, and it did not appear anyone was inside when the fire started. Fire investigators have not determined what sparked the fire, but Monte said there were no immediate and obvious signs of arson.

Police arrested 47-year-old Eric Earl Gray on the scene of the fire after he tried to enter the burning house and later tried to reach into a firefighter's ice chest despite repeated warnings not to do so, according to an arrest report. After more warnings to leave the scene, an officer used a stun gun on Gray.

Gray, 1635 E. Washington St., was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on two counts of resisting an officer and one count of interfering with a firefighter.

Less than a year ago, the home next to Walker’s burned in a fire that investigators ruled as an arson, Monte said. The house at 2522 Thomas H. Delpit Drive remains charred and multiple windows are missing, allowing a glimpse through it to Walker’s now burnt residence next door.

On Friday, two men were fatally shot while trying to fix up that house. Baton Rouge police said Harold Anthony, 36, and Donovan Cummings, 49, were renovating the home, which also flooded last August, about 9:45 a.m. when two to three men pulled up, chased them down and shot them.

Sgt. Don Coppola, a police spokesman, said detectives are investigating possible connections between the Walker shooting and the double homicide.

Balloons with notes scribbled on them for Cummings and Anthony remain tied to the fence that surrounds the house. McKinley High School alumni and local residents gathered for a walk and balloon release in the men’s memories over the weekend.

More than 12 years ago, Cummings was himself wanted in a fatal shooting that was later followed by a house catching fire.

Police said Cummings shot Alfred Wilborn Beverly and injured another man on March 2, 2005, after he accused them of burglarizing his car, which was parked in the 2600 block of Madison Avenue, according to an Advocate story at the time.

Two days later, a house on Madison near the shooting scene that belonged to Cummings' brother caught fire and was destroyed. The Baton Rouge Fire Department later determined the fire was an arson.

Cummings turned himself in the following week. He eventually pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a deal offered after a prosecutor said evidence surfaced that one of the victims first threatened Cummings with a gun before he fired. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison. 

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Article House of man killed Friday night destroyed in overnight fire, BRFD says; man arrested at scene compiled by www.theadvocate.com