Morgan City Police: Dispute about cocaine led to shooting

MORGAN CITY, La. -- Police say the man charged with the manslaughter of his brother over Labor Day weekend was illegally in this country and had served federal time for it.

Jose Ariano, 34, allegedly killed his brother Mario Ariano, 29, Friday night after a fight over whether or not to purchase cocaine, Chief Travis Crouch said. The younger Ariano was shot in the torso after Jose Ariano produced a .38-caliber revolver which unintentionally discharged during the argument at the home the brothers shared on Federal Avenue, the chief said.

A federal hold was placed on Jose Ariano, who is being held on $250,000 bail, because of his immigration status. Meanwhile, Morgan City police are working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine the status of the others in the home, chief said.

The brothers, who worked as general laborers, were intoxicated after partying at the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, where they drank several hurricanes, the chief said.

The death was reported to police around 11:30 p.m. Jose Ariano fled the home but later returned around 6:30 a.m. Saturday when he was arrested. Crouch said Jose Ariano hid in a wooded area near the home during the night.

Detectives were able to determine through interviews of witnesses and evidence recovered from the scene that Jose Ariano produced a handgun during an argument involving him, the victim, and another person, who police did not identify. The chief said the witness to the shooting struck the shooter before he left.

Crouch said the district attorney’s office will bring the case before the grand jury to determine whether charges should be upgraded.

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