Less than a day after a Killona shooting that left a 29-year-old man dead and four others wounded, including a 14-year-old boy, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne spoke bluntly.
“Make the call,” Champagne implored.
“There are people out there who know something. They know who did it, they know where the weapons are … call Crimestoppers. Identify someone, before it’s your child getting shot and needing to be airlifted.”
Champagne vented frustration over the lack of information shared with his department during the investigation of the incident, which occurred just before 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in front of a Killona convenience store.
According to Champagne, it is believed an unknown number of suspects ambushed the group of victims, sneaking from behind the store to open fire on the latter group standing outside the store front.
Darzil Washington, 29, was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. Darville Washington, 32, and Dwayne Williams, 27, were also shot multiple times. The two were airlifted to University Medical Center and are listed in critical condition. 35-year-old Jayvon Lockett and the 14-year-old boy (unidentified due to age) also each suffered multiple gunshot wounds and are listed in stable condition.
“Frankly, we’re not getting a lot of information,” Champagne said. “We don’t know how many saw what happened, but obviously people did. We can’t tell you how many shooters – one, two, three.”
But based on the information he does have, over the past several months, Champagne believes the shooting was part of a larger, escalating conflict.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re dealing with an interparish group. I don’t know what then proper word would be – family, clan, gang, clique – who are engaged in a cycle of violence and retaliation for violence. And it continues. It’s been going on for months.” he said. “This was an attack. This was retribution for past wrongs.”
He said the River Parishes as a whole have seen “probably 10 to 12” similar incidents between St. Charles, St. John and St. James parishes, with Tuesday’s incident producing the most victims. He said all three parishes have been working together, but that all three have found similar problems in finding anyone willing to share information.
“They pretty much get the same. Nobody sees anything. Nobody knows anything,” Champagne said.
“It seems like every month (the River Parishes) have had one of these. Where is the next one? It’s what’s been going on. We had individuals at the scene last night, behind the barriers, talking about – in general terms – getting revenge. Not telling police what they know. But about what they’re going to do (in retaliation). So, frankly, I don’t think it’s the last one. I’m confident it’s not the last one.”
Champagne addressed and offered some understanding toward reasoning why some people might be hesitant to come forward – specifically, fears over being targeted by the individual or group responsible for the crimes.
“We understand people are concerned, who really know something … I can understand being scared. But there are anonymous ways to do it as well,” Champagne said.
But until vital information is shared to make the necessary arrests, this pattern of escalation has no end in sight, he said.
“Until people connected with these individuals come forward and do something to stop it, don’t see it stopping anytime soon,” Champagne said. “They don’t care who they hit. A 14-year-old gets hit? ‘Who cares, we got the bad guy.’”
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Det. Amanda Buchanan with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 783-6807 or CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.