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  • Baton Rouge produce stand guard killed

    WBRZ News 2 is an ABC affiliate and Baton Rouge's only locally owned and operated television news source for more than 50 years. WBRZ provides coverage of local news, sports and community issues.

    Print version-

    Police suspect robbery attempt led to ‘senseless’ killing

    Advocate staff writer
    Published: Oct 25, 2007 - Page: 1B

    Alfred Mequet spent Wednesday morning — like almost any other morning for the past 16 years — at Pete’s Farmer’s Market, where his job as a guard consisted of making sure nobody vandalized the open-air produce store while it was closed.

    But the seven-day-a-week market never opened Wednesday, after Mequet, 71, was fatally shot about 4:30 a.m. during an attempted robbery.

    The store owner, Doug “Pete” Pizzolato Jr., arrived about 5:10 a.m. to relieve Mequet and found him slumped over, dead in his chair in front of the cash registers at the market where longtime customers knew him as “Al.”

    The registers sat untouched next to Mequet; they were empty as usual first thing in the morning. Nothing in the store was bothered.

    “It was senseless,” Pizzolato said Wednesday afternoon as he stood behind the counter where Mequet died. “Didn’t take his wallet. Not a Coke. Not an apple. Not nothing.”

    Police were called to the market at 4919 Airline Highway — near a busy intersection at North Foster Drive — to investigate Mequet’s death, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

    Police believe Mequet was killed during a robbery attempt.

    Police would not release a description of the gunman Wednesday, McKneely said; police are reviewing the market’s surveillance video.

    Pizzolato said the shooting was clearly caught on tape, which he watched before turning the video over to police.

    In the videotape, Pizzolato said, the shooter is standing by a side door before Mequet sees him and yells at him to leave.

    Mequet turns away from the shooter, who then jumps over the counter.

    The shooter points a gun at the sitting Mequet, who puts his hands up in the air before shots are fired, Pizzolato said.

    The shooter makes a half-hearted attempt at the two cash registers — failing to get them open — before he jumps the counter and runs away.

    Pizzolato declined to describe the man he saw on the videotape but said nothing was taken at the market where his father — Doug “Pete” Pizzolato Sr. — started selling produce 16 years ago.

    Mequet has been there — off and on — since the beginning, the employee he would turn to when he needed something done, Pizzolato said, adding Mequet was like an uncle to him, 26 years his elder.

    Working at the market was something Mequet loved to do even though he didn’t have to, said Linda Mequet, who married him five years ago. He retired from his work as a truck driver before he took the market job and other odd jobs.

    He liked to help people, she said, and was often recruited to mow a yard, move a couch or make a repair.

    She said the police officer who talked with her after the shooting said it was one of the “most coldblooded” killings he had seen.

    The sign outside the market said “Closed,” but Pizzolato was still there Wednesday evening as he fielded continuous phone calls from customers and friends wanting to offer condolences.

    Pizzolato noted the only items of value a robber could ever take is produce — an apple, a watermelon or a bag of peanuts. The cash registers are emptied each night.

    “It was just pointless,” he said, his back turned to the still empty registers.
    Hospital Security Officer

  • #2
    these are the types of crimes i can stand least of all. some guy gets a wild hair up his exaust and decides to take it out on the first guy in uniform he sees
    sigpicMy ideal security vehicle and uniforms:


    • #3
      Well, that is a shame! All my best to his family.

      Be safe,

      " We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on one hand and of overwhelming force on the other" - General George C. Marshall


      • #4
        UPDATE- Police Relese Video, ask for tips

        Video and story here-

        Police want ID of gunman caught on tape
        By SONIA SMITH
        Advocate staff writer
        Published: Oct 26, 2007 - Page: 1A

        Baton Rouge police hope someone can identify the gunman in a grainy surveillance video who shot and killed a security guard at Pete’s Farmer’s Market early Wednesday.

        The video, taken from a camera above one of the store’s cash registers, shows the shooter, who is dressed in a dark hooded sweat shirt.

        Police took care to blur victim Alfred Mequet’s image and mute his voice, police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said Thursday.

        “Don’t move. Give me all your money!” the shooter shouts in the video. “Back up; if you don’t back up I’m going to pop you.”

        “Empty the cash register,” he says, before pointing two silver pistols at Mequet, 71, and shooting him in the upper body with both guns at 4:39 a.m.

        The shooter then unsuccessfully attempts to open the empty cash register and flees, the video shows.

        “It’s very cold-blooded,” Kelly said of the slaying. “It’s definitely just a casual execution by a suspect who appears to have no feelings or empathy for victim whatsoever.”

        While the Police Department normally does not like to release surveillance videos, Kelly said, police have released the market shooting tape as it offers the best chance of identifying the shooter.

        “You can see his mannerisms, you can hear his voice, you can hear his speech patterns, you can get a sense of his build and his voice and his clothing,” Kelly said. “We’re hoping all of those things together will help someone recognize him.”

        Doug “Pete” Pizzolato Jr. reopened the market at 4919 Airline Highway Thursday morning. His family has owned the store — a converted gas station — for 26 years.

        “We’re personal, kind of like the old ma and pop stores out in country,” Pizzolato said.

        Mequet, a retired truck driver, worked for the store for 16 years, he said.

        “It was hard to open this morning and then harder to stay open at times,” Pizzolato said.

        Pizzolato said the store will still have a night guard and that removable chain-link fences will be placed at the store’s entrances when it closes.

        He said he has been heartened by the number of people who stopped by Thursday to express their sympathy.

        “Just everybody comes out here and their hearts are broken,” Pizzolato said.

        Michael Van Arden, 63, a friend of the Pizzolato family, stopped by Thursday afternoon for Red Delicious apples and to drop off a donation to Mequet’s widow, Linda Mequet.

        “I’m sad that it happened, where it happened and the people it happened to,” Van Arden said. “It’s hard to believe somebody would do something like that here.”

        Shoppers walked between piles of vegetables Thursday and many said they will continue to frequent the store.

        “Everyone’s so friendly,” said Carolyn Thomas. “Nobody walks in a stranger.”

        Thomas, who lives in the nearby Glen Oaks subdivision, said she made a point of stopping by the store Thursday to pay her respects.

        “My heart just goes out to the family, I don’t know when it‘s going to stop,” Thomas said. “This is another sad thing for Baton Rouge.”

        Jerry Scott, 63, who has been coming to the store once a week for years, said he was shocked by the senseless death.

        “This is a fruit stand, how much money could that man have had on him? … There was no register running. What was (the shooter) going to steal, tomatoes?” Scott asked. “Today they could shoot you for 50 cents.”
        Hospital Security Officer


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ron Jessee View Post
          these are the types of crimes i can stand least of all. some guy gets a wild hair up his exaust and decides to take it out on the first guy in uniform he sees
          I don't even think he was in uniform. What I've been getting locally is that he is a retiree who just stayed at the market for a little extra cash to keep kids from spray painting the place.
          Hospital Security Officer


          • #6
            Scum Bag

            He's the type of killer that has no remorse. The kind that kills and then goes to get a bite to eat, a heartless, cold-blooded predator that could care less whether it was a human or a bug that he kills.
            Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)


            • #7
              Police Make Arrest in Killing of Guard

              Video of killing at open-air market yields tip

              By JARED JANES
              Advocate staff writer
              Published: Oct 27, 2007 - Page: 1A

              Within 30 minutes of the Thursday broadcast of surveillance video showing a fatal shooting at an open-air produce market, Baton Rouge police received a Crime Stoppers tip that led to an arrest.

              Derrick Williams, 25, 5938 Ford St., was arrested Friday afternoon after police found him at a relative’s house in the 1800 block of Washington Avenue, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said.

              Williams is accused of fatally shooting Alfred Mequet, a 71-year-old security guard, during an attempted robbery early Wednesday at Pete’s Farmer’s Market, 4919 Airline Highway.

              Homicide detectives on Friday afternoon escorted Williams to a waiting police car, which took him to Parish Prison, where he was booked on counts of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

              Williams, whose last known address was 2 miles from the market, has previous arrests for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, resisting an officer and misdemeanor battery of a correctional officer, court records show.

              An anonymous caller identified Williams as the man shown in a grainy surveillance video, Kelly said. But the decision to release the video did not come easily, he said, as it shows the homicide from a camera angled above the cash register.

              Police decided to release an edited version of the tape, Chief Jeff LeDuff said, after deciding their best chance to make an arrest was by involving the public in the investigation.

              “It was a big risk,” LeDuff said, noting how the video shows a “vicious” and “callous” shooter who pointed two guns at the victim and fired.

              Linda Mequet, the widow of Alfred Mequet, made a point not to watch the broadcasts of the surveillance video.

              She said she is happy the video led to a quick arrest in the fatal shooting of her husband of five years, whom she described as her “best friend” and “hero.”

              “He was a good, good man,” Mequet said. “It was such a senseless, cold-blooded killing.”

              She said Alfred Mequet died working with friends and at a place he had loved since he started the part-time job at Pete’s Farmer’s Market 16 years ago.

              The market closed Friday evening with a new appearance that should thwart any future problems, owner Doug “Pete” Pizzolato Jr. said before he left to visit Linda Mequet again. He purchased 8-foot-tall by 12-foot-wide gate panels to cover the entrances each night.

              Pizzolato said he still wants to keep the market, which has been in his family for 26 years, with an open-air atmosphere during the day.

              He said he plans to continue the process of installing the portable gates each night and removing them each morning until he finds a quicker solution.

              The job took Pizzolato and another employee about 45 minutes the first night, he said, but he added that the time spent will be worthwhile.

              Pizzolato, who said he considered Alfred Mequet like an uncle and caught himself referring to other employees as Mr. Al throughout the day, said the market has seen an outpouring of support.

              “Every day, people coming in and trying to make things better,” Pizzolato said. “But it hurts.”

              “He would have protected that market with his life” Linda Mequet said. “And he did.”
              Hospital Security Officer