A Louisiana college student thinking he was about to buy a gun instead got fatally shot when a trio of men allegedly lured him to a playground for the phony sale, police said.
On Aug. 5, Elijah Augustus, 19, allegedly arranged to meet Hassan Veal in the playground’s parking lot in Marrero, The Times-Picayune reported.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detective Steve Keller testified at a court hearing that Veal, 19, first met up with Augustus and paid $666 for the purported gun through an app. Augustus then allegedly told Veal to go the playground at 10:30 that night to pick up the firearm.
Surveillance video allegedly shows three suspects arrived 15 minutes prior to the designated meeting time in a Honda Accord. Two of the men, later identified as Trenton Tatum, 30, and Augustus, exited the vehicle and went behind a nearby fence to hide.
When the University of Louisiana student showed up at the parking lot and approaced the Honda, Tatum and Augustus allegedly rushed him and Tyron Edwards, 20, who was in the car, blocked him with the Honda’s door before firing a shot into the air.
Authorities were able to track down the suspects and arrest them within days of the murder after detectives found a phone Edwards dropped while searching Veal’s pockets during the alleged robbery, according to Keller.
Tatum, Augustus, and Edwards, are all charged with first-degree murder. Tatum faces an additional charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun and violating his parole in connection to a 2008 attempted murder.
The three are being held without bond at the Jefferson Correctional Center.
“Everybody knew that he was my heart,” Toya Veal, 45, told The Times-Picayune about her son after the deadly shooting. “He was my baby. He is really my life. I don’t know what my life is going to be now.”