St. John residents worried about crime spike

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011



LAPLACE – A pair of shootings and a stabbing highlighted an active weekend for violence in St. John the Baptist Parish and had some residents wondering what could be done about the crime.

Capt. Dane Clement, spokesman for the St. John Sheriff’s Office, said the hectic crime activity over the weekend is unusual for the parish, which had reported a 17 percent decrease in overall crime in 2010. He said the quick spike after a quiet few weeks has sparked some concern from residents.

“They all came at one time and in generally the same area of the parish,” Clement said. “There is nothing at all to indicate that any of the incidents are related in any way. This kind of activity at the same time is unusual for this area.”

Although the spike seems unusual, a few residents in the affected areas said Monday they are concerned about the violence in their neighborhoods.

“It is a little frightening to see the crime tape go up near your home,” said Jim Bruno, who lives near Madeline Court, where one of the shootings occurred Saturday. “I don’t know what else can be done. I’d like to see more police out on weekend evenings.”

Alicia Walter, who lives in the apartments near where the second shooting occurred Sunday, said she would also like to see more police activity.

“We just want to know they are out there doing something to stop this,” Walter said.

The incidents began early Saturday when two people were shot inside a trailer home in the 100 block of Madeline Court in LaPlace. Clement said deputies were called to the residence, where a 42-year-old man was shot in the forehead and torso and an 18-year-old female was shot in the neck and buttocks, just before 2 a.m.

The victims, described as an uncle and his niece, were transported to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace with what was described as non-life threatening injuries, Clement said. 

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, the victims told deputies a black male came to the residence about 1:30 a.m. asking for an unidentified person by name. The suspect left and returned two more times before firing at the door. Clement said the male victim was standing at the door when the shots were fired, while the woman was sitting on a couch.

Investigators have no motive or suspects in the shooting.

Later in the evening Saturday, two Reserve men were injured in a stabbing incident in LaPlace.

Deputies were called to the 400 block of East Airline Highway in LaPlace, where a 39-year-old man was stabbed in the chest and a 27-year-old man was cut on the right arm, just after 11:30 p.m., Clement said.

The 39-year-old man was driven to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace and was later transferred to University Hospital in New Orleans, where he was in serious but stable condition. Clement said the other victim, who was cut trying to get the perpetrator off the first victim, was treated for minor injuries.

When deputies spoke to witnesses, it was unclear where the altercation took place, Clement said. The suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction after the stabbing.

On Sunday afternoon, deputies were called out to the 200 block of Belle Terre Boulevard, where a 23-year-old LaPlace man was found shot in the torso. Calls to 911 reported shots fired in the area just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Clement said.

The man was transported to River Parishes Hospital and later air lifted to University Hospital in New Orleans for treatment. Clement said the victim underwent surgery and is in stable condition. 

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, the victim told deputies he and a friend were sitting on the side of his apartment building when an unknown male wearing all black clothing and a black bandana across his face approached them from the rear of the building. The suspect fired a handgun multiple times, striking the victim. 

Clement said the victim and his friend fled to the front of the apartment building to seek safety. The suspect fled in an unknown direction. There is no motive or suspect in that shooting.

Clement said detectives are actively pursuing all the cases to bring forth some sort of conclusion that satisfies all parties.

“It’s not just for the victims and their families,” Clement said. “The community wants to feel safe in their neighborhoods.”

Anyone with information regarding any of the weekend’s incidents should call St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff detectives at 985-359-8769 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.