Area rallies for shooting victim who lost leg

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

Special to

RESERVE — Hundreds of family, friends and community members gathered Aug. 9 in honor of shooting victim Kirk W. White Jr. for a “Stop the Violence” rally, dubbed “Prayers for Pete,” that attendees hoped would be a call to action for the St. John the Baptist Parish community to choose peace over violence.

Kirk was shot seven to 10 times in the early morning hours of June 7 at a site two streets from his mother’s home in Reserve. Aside from several shots to his stomach area, Kirk lost his right leg due to a bullet in the knee. No suspects have been arrested.

His grandmother Ethel White, of Lutcher, yelled, “Stop the violence and increase the peace. We love you Pete.”

“Pete” is Kirk’s nickname to those who are closest to him, Ethel White said.

Kirk remains in a New Orleans-area hospital.

St. John Parish President Natalie H. Robottom, one of the speakers at the event, told the audience that the community cannot continue on this road.

“We need to have a conversation,” she said. “We are better than this. We need to set the example for our children and grandchildren.

“This kind of crime is unacceptable.”

Robottom said she knows the families of many of the victims of violence and has been heartbroken because of these senseless crimes and their lingering effects.

Kirk’s mother and sister, Melissa Desselle and Kristen White, respectively, held a photograph of the 21-year-old victim during the rally.

The purpose of the rally was to show “violence is not the answer,” Kristen said. “This is not just for Reserve, but for the entire area!”

“Violence is going to happen everywhere,” Kristen said. “It’s just a matter of coming together, to support each other.”

Held in Reserve’s Regala Park, several speakers took turns speaking about violence.

Minster Calvin XX Parker said many local youth don’t have favorable images of themselves.

“This is what happens when you do know your history,” Parker said. “Without the knowledge of God, you can be alive and dead at the same time. I tell young people that every action starts with a thought. Stopping the violence starts with knowledge of self.”

Kristen White said her life has been in turmoil ever since the shooting.

“I wonder what St. John Parish will be like in 10 years,” she said, adding Kirk’s shooting was senseless. “I hope this rally might make the youngsters think twice the next time they want to pick up a gun to fix a problem.”

Members of the White family said they have every confidence that the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office will find Kirk’s shooter.

The White family thanked everyone who donated money, products and time to make the rally a success.

Authorities began working the case after deputies responded at 3 a.m. to the 200 block of Chad B. Baker Street in Reserve following a shooting report.

The victim, who was located by authorities in a house, sustained gunshot wounds to his chest, arm and leg. Witnesses told deputies shortly after the victim stepped outside the residence they heard the gunshots.

Investigators said bullets also struck two vehicles parked in a neighbor’s driveway.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office TIPS line at 985-359-TIPS or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.