Man found dead Wednesday was target of Sunday assault, police say

But police have not drawn a connection between Sunday’s incident and the death of Francis.
By JEAN L. KAESS jkaess@daily-review.com
Willie Francis, 23, of Bayou Vista, who was last heard from at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, was found dead at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at La. 182 between Old Spanish Trail and Tournament Boulevard in Berwick.
His vehicle was located at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday by a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Bayou Vista area. The vehicle was parked on the side of the westbound lane of U.S. 90 with its engine running, Sheriff Mark Hebert said.
On Sunday, Francis and his father, Willie Webb Sr., were reportedly assaulted with a firearm at 5:44 p.m., Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said.
Morgan City police arrested one man and had a second in custody at midday today for the Sunday assault.
But police have not drawn a connection between Sunday’s incident and the death of Francis, which is being investigated as a homicide, Hebert said.
According to the general case report, police were called to the corner of Freret and Fifth streets in Morgan City at 5:44 p.m. Sunday by Francis’ father Willie Webb Sr.
Webb and Francis were traveling on Fifth Street in two separate vehicles when three black men started yelling at Francis to get out of his vehicle and fight with them, the report states. Francis got out of the vehicle, and one of the men started chasing him around the vehicle with a black automatic pistol, according to the report.
Webb got out of the vehicle to tell his son to get back in his vehicle when Tiajh Broussard allegedly pulled a nickel-plated revolver out of his pants and pointed it at Webb and his passenger. He said Broussard pointed the weapon at him and pulled the trigger twice but it did not fire.
On Sunday, police chased a man, identified as Joshua Robertson, behind Walmsley United Methodist Church on Freret Street and in the vicinity before losing them near the Fifth Street Store. Officers walked the streets and back yards looking for the men, but did not find them. However, they did recover an empty Arminius .38-caliber nickel-plated revolver under the rear of the church, the report states.
Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said, after some confusion over whether the charges that would be brought against the men were misdemeanors or felonies, felony warrants were issued and the revolver was brought to a crime lab in Lafayette Monday morning for analysis as it is suspected to be involved in another case.
Joshua Donnell Robertson, 22, of Mallard Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 9:48 p.m. Wednesday on a warrant for aggravated assault with a firearm, resisting an officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Robertson went to the Morgan City Police Department for questioning regarding the complaint by Webb. After questioning, Robertson was arrested on the warrant.
Robertson remained jailed this morning on $50,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected, Crouch said.
At midday, Crouch said Broussard had been brought to the police department for questioning. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
A third man was listed as a suspect in the initial report, but a warrant has not been issued for his arrest, Crouch said. 
The joint investigation between the Berwick Police Department and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Department into Francis’ death began with a welfare concern investigation after his vehicle was located Tuesday night by a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Bayou Vista area.
Because of the circumstances under which the car was located, St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s detectives began an investigation into the abandoned vehicle as a welfare concern earlier Wednesday morning. Francis’ last known communication occurred at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Hebert.
His body was found at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Berwick and the St. Mary Parish Coroner positively identified the deceased as Francis, 23, of Bayou Vista, Hebert said.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and Berwick Police Department are conducting an ongoing investigation into the homicide. No further details will be released at this time, Hebert said.
Anyone with information regarding the homicide may contact the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office at 985-384-1622 or 337-828-1960.

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