Suspect in Memorial Day road rage shooting admitted to firing gun, say authorities

State / Regional

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The man who authorities say killed Brandon Box on Memorial Day during an alleged road rage shooting admitted to police that he fired the fatal shots, said state officials on Monday.

Janvique Entrael Franklin Jr., 24, was arrested in Hammond, La. on Friday, said officials with the Department of Public Safety and MBI during a press conference in Biloxi on Monday.

Janvique Franklin Jr. has been arrested and charged in the Memorial Day death of Brandon Box, who was shot on I-10 during an alleged road rage shooting. (Source: Tangipahoa Parish Jail)

DPS Commissioner Sean Tindell said the arrest was the result of many agencies and people coming together to track down leads and investigate the shooting. Those leads led investigators to a rental car believed to be the suspect vehicle used during the shooting and a weapon owned by the suspect.

“This information came to us that Mr. Franklin had been investigated on a domestic charge, a domestic violence charge, out of Hammond, La. At the time of that call, a firearm was noticed in his residence. Based upon the information that Agent (Jason) Gazzo was able to ascertain, we were able to determine that was the vehicle being driven at the time of the shooting. Based upon putting those things together, it was determined that it was a rental car and we were able to link it to the individual,” said Tindell.

“Once contact was made with the Hammond Police Department and it was determined that there was a firearm there, we determined that there was probable cause to make an arrest. A warrant was issued and contact was made and Mr. Franklin was taken into custody. It was during this time that he actually confessed to owning the firearm and he also confessed to being the shooter in the vehicle.”

Brandon Box, pictured here with his wife Jessica (Source: WLOX)

Brandon Box died on May 25, 2020, while driving on I-10 in Jackson County. Authorities say his death was the result of a road rage shooting. The 2019 Dodge Ram belonging to Box was shot several times, killing the 30-year-old Gulfport man.

According to authorities, a firecracker was thrown from the suspect’s car and landed in the bed of the truck at the foot of the Pascagoula bridge near the rest area. The two vehicles then reportedly engaged in aggressive driving for nearly 20 miles before the road rage culminated with Brandon Box being shot near mile marker 51.

‘He has been taken from me too soon’: Wife hopes to find husband’s killer in road rage shooting ]

Franklin is now charged with charged with homicide in the heat of passion, which according to Mississippi law is “the killing of a human being, without malice, in the heat of passion, but in a cruel or unusual manner, or by the use of a dangerous weapon, without authority of law, and not in necessary self-defense.”

The investigation, which was headed up by MBI, was a joint effort that involved local, state, and federal agencies including Gautier Police Department, who provided video that helped lead investigators to the suspect’s vehicle. Other agencies who also helped include Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, a DEA task force, and Hammond Police Department.

Tips to Crime Stoppers also played a major role, said Tindell.

Brandon Box was shot and killed during the Memorial Day weekend. His family put up billboards in the Louisiana area hoping for leads. (Source: WLOX)

For weeks, authorities pleaded with anyone who may have seen the shooting or the road rage to come forward with information about the suspect vehicle to help them make an arrest. Thousands of dollars of reward money were also offered for information leading to an arrest.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation worked with the assistance of the DEA Task Force and police in Hammond, La. to identify the suspect and make an arrest.

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