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Deputy U.S. marshal killed trying to arrest man; suspect’s sister speaks out

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Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 10:41:20-04

The man suspected of killing a deputy U.S. marshal at a motel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — 31-year-old Jamie Croom — has died, Brittany Stewart in the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office said Wednesday.

The cause of death is pending autopsy, she said. Croom was wounded in a shootout with U.S. Marshal Josie Wells, 28, who died in the firefight.

[Original story posted at 8:12 a.m. ET]

It can be one of the most dangerous tasks for a law enforcement officer: serving an arrest warrant to a fugitive murder suspect.

When Deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells tried to do that Tuesday, he lost his life.

Wells was trying to arrest Jamie Croom, who is suspected in the deaths of a brother and sister in New Roads, Louisiana, CNN affiliate WAFB said.

Officials would not elaborate on what happened next, but The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge said a shootout followed. Authorities said Croom shot and killed Wells at a Baton Rouge motel.

Wells, 28, was based in Mississippi but was on temporary assignment in the Baton Rouge area, the Sun Herald newspaper said. He was married and came from a law enforcement family.

Despite the risks, Wells loved his job.

“It was his passion,” longtime friend Alex McGee told the paper. “I tipped my hat to him because he knew the dangers and wanted to do the job anyway.”

Suspect’s sister: ‘He said he wasn’t going back to jail’

Croom, the suspect, was wounded in the incident Tuesday and was taken to a hospital, WAFB said.

He was wanted in the shooting deaths of the two siblings in February and was also on probation for firearms charges.

That double homicide stemmed from a feud over a loan made to one of the victim’s relatives as well as an alleged break-in at the suspect’s grandmother’s house, Croom’s older sister Latonia Croom Duncan told CNN.

Duncan said the family reported threats and a shooting at her grandmother’s house to police, but said there was never any follow-up.

She said her brother called her the night of the homicides, which took place at a nightclub.

“He called me and said he loved me and that he’d be gone,” Duncan said.

“He said he wasn’t going back to jail. Before he’d go back to jail, he said, he’d rather be dead.”

CNN’s Sam Stringer contributed to this report.