Shooting news deja vu for Morgan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 27, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 27, 1998

RESERVE – The news of the graduation party shooting and murder in Destrehan last weekend was deja vu for Diane Morgan.

On June 1, 1997, her son, Courtney Tyler, was shot and killed at a graduation party at the DuPont PERO Building in LaPlace. If anyone knowshow Barbara Greene, mother of Cleophus Greene III, feels, she does, Morgan said.

She has offered to talk to Greene, to give whatever comfort, understanding and advice a mother who is living through quite similar circumstances can give.

Tyler, 20, was one of 200 people attending the party at the Pontchartrain Employees Recreation Organization building last year and, as it began to break up just after midnight, a group of uninvited “guests” arrived. At12:44 a.m. a confrontation quickly erupted into gunfire.Tyler and four other persons were injured by the gunfire, and Tyler, shot in the left side and left thigh, died later that morning at River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace.

Morgan, when she learned her son had been mortally wounded and was calling for her, immediately hurried to the hospital.

She said she reached his side long enough for the two to make eye contact, then “his eyes rolled back,” and he was gone. She said later, “He wantedme to be there, and I was there.”The other shooting victims, all juveniles living in Reserve and including three males and one female, were treated at the hospital and released.

“It’s still a nightmare,” Morgan said Monday. “It’s like a knife through myheart.”The suspects in that case, Patrick Snyder and Steveland Carter, still await trial on the murder charge. Snyder recently pled guilty to unrelateddrug charges stemming from the March 20, 1997 drug sweep which turned up seven counts of distribution of cocaine.

Snyder and Carter, both of LaPlace, were each charged with one count of first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder, illegal use of weapons and disturbing the peace by fighting in connection with the graduation party shooting.

Tyler had attended East St. John High School through 10th grade, buttransferred to West St. John High School in Edgard to avoid gang violence,his mother said.

Morgan said she’s been on stress medication, and her 11-year-old son, Cardell, still misses his big brother and is still undergoing counseling.

Whenever his 14-year-old sister, Marsha, is out of sight, he worries he may never see her again, either, Morgan added.

“I just want justice,” she said. “It’s been a living hell.”She noted with irony this year’s graduation party at the PERO Building began at 2 p.m. and ended at 7 p.m., before sundown.

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