Following a series of incidents where gunshots were fired in the Luling/Boutte area, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne is asking for the public’s help to bring an end to the disturbing trend.
Champagne said that in the past several months, there have been several instances in which shots were reportedly fired within what Champagne called about a five-mile radius west of Paul Fredrick Street. He noted when deputies have arrived to these calls, they find nobody on the scene and nobody willing to volunteer information – including, in one case, a victim who was shot in the leg.
While nobody has been killed – the gunshots have mostly caused property damage to this point – Champagne warned it’s just a matter of time if a stop isn’t put to the activity.
“It was sporatic at first, but now it’s seemingly weekly,” Champagne said. “I don’t think it’s an intent they have to go and kill someone, because if they were, I think more people would have been shot and someone killed by now. But gunshots are going off. You have a bullethole in a car, someone shot in the leg … I think some of this is intimidation where they’re just running around, like tough guys, and pop a couple of rounds off. It’s dangerous and we’re working to stop this.”
Champagne said there are suspicions that the incidents are result of a rivalry between a contingent from Hahnville and Killona and another from Luling and Boutte. He also said it could be connected to drug traffiking.
“It’s really a small group in each area who want to act like tough little gangsters,” Champagne said. “We need help from people, if they have video footage or can supply information … it’s dangerous and disgusting what’s being done. We’ve had some issues in that area over time, but it’s never been quite like this where it keeps happening. They go and fire off some rounds, and you never know where the bullet comes down.”
One recent incident came on Nov. 9, in the 1200 block of Paul Fredrick Street. On that night, a group of suspects in a gold colored SUV shot at another vehicle, a light colored Hyundai Sonata that was struck by a bullet. A short time after the shooting, detectives located the Sonata, which had been abandoned near the scene. That incident led the Sheriff’s Office to make the public plea for information, noting at the time that “a simple anonymous telephone call could easily prevent the loss of life.”
The anonymous part of the equation is an important one. Champagne said he understood why residents may have been wary of sharing information that could potentially draw reprisal.
“But we have innocent people with bullet holes in their car, in their windshields. They call me and ask, ‘What will you do about it?’ We’re trying,” he said. “It’s something that is going to escalate unless we can put a stop to it.”
Champagne said he has put together a task force of marked and unmarked deputies to monitor the area at varying times of day.
Citizens with information about any of these incidents may contact Detective Jenni Barrette at (985) 783-1135 or call (985) 783-6807.
Anyone with information regarding this incident can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-903-STOP. Citizens do not have to give their name nor testify and could receive up to $2,500.