NEW ORLEANS -- Neighbors said marijuana cigarettes laced with PCP may have contributed to a violent outburst in which a man fatally stabbed a woman and threw her children from a third-floor balcony, killing one and injuring two others.
The injured children remained in serious condition early today after their fall 60 feet to a concrete sidewalk in a low-rent housing project.
Neighbors said suspect Thomas Brown Jr., 38, also a resident at the project, and victim Claudia McGown, 30, were romantically involved and that Brown often babysat for the children.
'If I catch him (Brown), if I see him, he's dead,' said David Smith, McGown's brother. 'You can put that on record.'
Residents at the Fischer housing project grabbed and beat Brown as he tried to walk away from the scene Wednesday after witnesses had gathered. They said he was a regular user of marijuana cigarettes laced with PCP.
'I can tell you, when they were beating him (Brown), he didn't feel a thing,' onlooker John Berfect said.
Brown was hospitalized for minor injuries suffered during the beating but later was released into police custody and charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of murder.
Leslie McGown, 8, died early Wednesday. Brandy, 5, and Brandon, 3, remained in serious condition at Charity Hospital. Both suffered multiple fractures.
Glenda Jones, a cousin of the McGowns, said the two children probably will live with their grandmother when they leave the hospital.
Neighbor Sterling Williams, 26, said he was eating dinner at his girlfriend's apartment on the first floor of the building in which McGown lived at 9 p.m. Tuesday when tiny bodies started landing on the sidewalk in front of him.
He said he passed a smiling Brown who claimed he 'killed all of them.'
Williams, his sister, and a few others chased Brown, dragged him down and beat him with a long piece of iron, a metal pipe and a slab of wood.
'I was trying to kill him. Simple as that,' Williams said.
He said the arrival of police officers saved Brown's life.