Shooting leaves two teens dead; two small children left without a mother

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Natchez — A 19-year-old Adams County man fatally shot his 17-year-old girlfriend, then turned the gun on himself late Tuesday night, leaving two children without a mother.

Terrance Lamar Carter of 28-B Artman Road shot LaToya Washington once in the head with a .38-caliber pistol., then shot himself once in the head, Sheriff Tommy Ferrell said. Carter died Wednesday at a Jackson hospital.

The shooting happened just before 11:30 p.m. inside the Lincoln Heights Road trailer Washington shared with her mother, grandmother and her two children, a 1-year-old girl and a 2 week old boy.

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Three shots were fired according to Ferrell. Washington’s first cousin, Alicia Washington, lives just a few houses away and heard the first shot as she was on the telephone.

“I was on the phone with (another) cousin who’s in that house when the first shot rang out,” Alicia Washington said., cradling Terrance Carter Jr., just two weeks and two days old.

“I asked her what was wrong, but she had dropped the phone. I ran out the front door and that’s when I heard the other two shots And then I found her.”

LaToya Washgton was pronounced dead at the scene; Carter died at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Deputies had been called to the trailer three times before on domestic disputes involving LaToya Washington and Carter — once in December and twice this year, Ferrell said.

“He’d threatened to kill (Washington) and even shot at them,” Ferrell said, referring to other relatives, including Latoya Washington’s grandmother.

Under state law, if deputies had seen signs of physical abuse, they could have arrested Carter on the spot, but no such evidence was found.

“And she refused to press charges against him,” Ferrell said. “She always took up for him.

“This is one of those cases that escalated that you always hear about,” he said.

Ferrell said family members stated that “there was an ongoing feud” between the two, but he did not know Wednesday afternoon what started Tuesday night’s argument.

Carter “arrived (at the trailer) at about 3:30 p.m., and he had already been drinking,” Ferrell said.

The couple argued.

At one point, Carter appeared to be choking LaToya Washington in Washington’s bedroom, but Carter told Washington’s sister “that they were just playing,” Ferell said.

The shooting took place in the bedroom. Although there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, LaToya Washington’s siblings — ages 19 through 3 — heard the shots, Ferrell said.

As of Wednesday, deputies were still searching for the owner of the pistol that was used in the shooting. LaToya Washington’s mother, Mary Washington, and grandmother were not home at the time of the shooting, Ferrell said.

Personnel at Natchez High School confirmed that LaToya Washington was a special education student there, but not further information was available from the school as of Wednesday.

Alicia Washington still couldn’t bear to talk much about her cousin or the incident Wednesday but there was one thing she wanted the public to know.

“We don’t have the money to bury her,” she said. “We need someone to help us.”

Arrangements were incomplete at West Funeral Hom on Wednesday afternoon.