Port Allen police are investigating a Thursday evening drive-by shooting that took place on N. 14th St. near a basketball court full of young people, and arrested a man for an unrelated shooting Saturday that left a Port Allen man injured.
Thursday evening, between 6-7 p.m., according to Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown, police officers responded to a call at the basketball court area on N. 14th street.
“We got the call of multiple shots being fired,” Brown said, adding that a juvenile was shot twice, once in the arm, once in the leg, and ran away, ending up behind a home on Maryland St., adjacent to the basketball court.
“Officers found 17 total casings out on the street where the subject supposedly fired from a moving vehicle,” Brown said.
He said that the casings were from a 9mm gun.
Brown said that though at least 17 shots were fired, he is unsure whether the shooter was, or shooters were, targeting one specific person. No others were injured in the gunfire, though Brown said approximately 20 or more other young people were at the basketball court at the time of the shooting.
The juvenile that was shot was brought to a hospital and released with non-life threatening injuries.
Brown said that no arrests have been made, as police have not found anyone willing to speak to them about the incident, and the case remains under investigation.
He said that two Port Allen High School students had allegedly been in an altercation on a school bus and at school earlier that day.
“It led to some guys leaving (the basketball court) and coming back, supposedly,” said Brown. “And just firing a bunch of rounds from the vehicle.”
Police are currently looking for the shooter and ask that anyone who may have any information about the incident call the Port Allen P.D. at 343-5525.
“We know somebody had to see something, and we know somebody knew the shooter. It was just too many people for [nobody to see anything],” Brown said. “I’m quite sure somebody had to see that vehicle and know the shooter(s) in it – and we haven’t gotten any of that from anybody.
“They can come forward; they can call anonymously, leave tips. It would help out a lot.”
Brown said that he believes nobody will speak about the incident with police for fear of being a “snitch.”
“A lot of times, when something like this happens, the younger crowd tends to get away from it… they don’t want to be involved, but mature people understand the magnitude of it so they will get involved,” he said
In an unrelated incident, police arrested Michael J. Jackson, 20, of 1452 Clark St., Port Allen, for shooting and injuring Kevin Ray of Port Allen on Saturday.
While Ray was visiting his mother on Franklin St., Jackson opened fire, firing six shots, according to police, and hitting Ray once in the leg.
“Officers had a really good response time, and at the crime scene, they did a real good investigation,” Brown lauded. “And the public worked real well with the police officers, the way it should be.”
Brown said that Jackson had harassed Ray for years.
“They would drive by and taunt him and make threats to him, using their hands as a sign of a gun,” Brown explained Monday afternoon. “On this particular day, they carried through with their threats and (Jackson) actually confronted (Ray) with the gun.”
Brown said that Ray tried to talk to Jackson, but ended up running away.
“And that’s when Jackson fired six shots and one of them wound up hitting him in the leg. It was moderate injury, nothing life threatening,” Brown said.
Brown said that though the two men were “beefing,” the situation could have been placed under control had police been called earlier.
“That shooting could have been prevented,” he said. “That’s also why it’s important for the public to work with us on incidents like this. Pick up the phone and call and let us know.”
He said that the public did help the police to pinpoint Jackson as the shooter and locate him.
“I think a lot of people were frustrated from the first shooting (on Thursday), so it made it easier for people to come out and ‘hey, let’s get this guy off the street,’” Brown said.
Brown said that the PAPD is also investigating what has come to be known as the “hit list,” a list of names posted on social media sites targeting certain local juveniles.
“We’re investigating that – we’re trying to get to the bottom of who’s putting it out,” he said, adding that Thursday’s shooting may have been correlated to the list.
“We’ve discovered that a couple of young people are trying to start a gang,” he said. “We’re going to be trying to get with the parents of the kids who are actually displaying this kind of attitude with starting a gang and being part of a gang.
“Hopefully, parents can nip this in the bud, because it starts at home. And if they can’t, eventually we will.”
Brown said that he believes the gang activity is directly correlated to the first shooting last week.
“The motive is to try to get people not to talk and put fear in people. But we have to, as a community, step up against this. We want it to stop,” Brown said, pleading with anyone who may know anything about the shooting to come forward. “Not just the police, the whole Port Allen community, working together to get the bad guys off the street or the people that are causing trouble inside the neighborhoods.
“We’re just looking for people to come forward. It’s time for it to cease – it should have never happened in the first place, but it happened and now we’re looking for people to come forward. They don’t have to be scared. Anything could lead to the arrest of the first shooting (Thursday) - car descriptions, people in the car, what they were wearing. Anything anybody can give us would be very helpful. Somebody might have been recording with their phone, caught the vehicle leaving the scene. With that many people – it was close to 20-30 people out there – somebody had to see something.”