Shootings bring immediate response

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2002


LAPLACE – Immediate increased police patrols will go into effect in the Reserve Oaks Housing Development, in response to increased violent crime in the neighborhood.

Plans are also well under way to establish a sheriff’s substation in the housing development to combat a rise in violent crime in the neighborhood.

Chief Deputy Harold Klibert, speaking for St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones, told the St. John Housing Authority, as well as Reserve resident Faith Farlough, “I’m in complete agreement with what you’ve said.”

Farlough, a resident of W. 14th Street, spurred this special meeting of the Housing Authority Thursday morning following events of Memorial Day weekend, where three people received gunshot wounds in connection with two shooting incidents.

In the first incident, DeMario Brown, 21, of Metairie, was on E. 13th Street on May 25 in the housing development when he was struck on the left shin by bullets fired during an attempted armed robbery at 8:20 p.m.

Nearby, Xenophen Keys, 33, of New Orleans, was sitting in his car and received a gunshot wound in his arm, apparently a stray bullet among those fired at Brown.

In the second incident, Terrance Jacob, 23, of Homewood Place in Reserve, was walking on E. 13th Street on May 27 at 3:53 a.m. when men in a passing car fired on him. He sustained gunshot wounds to his upper right chest and right arm.

Jacob and Keys have both been treated for their wounds and released, according to River Parishes Hospital spokesman Sean Roussel. Brown is still at the hospital, in stable condition, Roussel added.

Farlough told the Housing Authority, “We’re in a state of crisis,” and added the upswing in crime has caused “a devastating effect on lives and property.”

She complained of gambling, organized dogfighting, drug trafficking, obscene graffiti and fires of neighboring homes as crippling the neighborhood.

“The Housing Authority is failing in its mission to provide safe and adequate housing,” Farlough added. “And we just can’t keep saying a substation is coming; we need it now.”

Farlough pointed out the neighborhood of W. 13th Street is one of Jones’s designated “hot spots,” where violent crime is especially high in the parish. “I want to live in peace,” she added. “This is not a war zone.”

Klibert pointed out the sheriff’s office cannot do the job alone, and called for increased involvement by neighbors and a firmer hand by the Housing Authority to help keep those former residents on the “bar list” – those banned from the area – from re-entering the neighborhood.

A grant application to add 12 more road patrol deputies is already being prepared, Klibert said.

However, he added, the Housing Authority also needs to help shoulder some of the financial responsibility in adding a substation.

Kliebert pointed out the group already owes the sheriff’s office nearly $20,000 in their portion of salaries for patrolmen in the LaPlace housing development, dating back to February.

Those are Sgt. Nolan Anderson and Sgt. Henry Harris.

Klibert agreed with Farlough that community policing works, and gave the LaPlace housing development as an example.

The area was notorious seven to 10 years ago as a “hot spot,” where deputies were routinely fired upon and residents grabbed the floor whenever gunshots were heard on a nightly basis.

Klibert plans to bring in more patrolmen who will coordinate activities with Anderson and Harris.

“You can count on the sheriff’s office doing our part,” he said.