Gunmen fired into a crowd of hundreds at a memorial for a Louisiana homicide victim, injuring 12 men and a woman, and people who were there need to tell police who did it, officials said Monday.
“Satan has taken over in Bogalusa, and it’s time we take it back” by reporting who shot up the crowd, Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal said at a livestreamed news conference.
Five of the city’s 28 officers were on duty when the first calls about a crowd came in Saturday evening. With accidents and other disturbances to deal with at the same time, the crowd estimated then at 500 people was beyond their power to disperse, Bogalusa police Maj. Wendell O’Berry said.
People were still shooting when police arrived several hours later in response to 911 calls about gunfire, he said. By then, he said, the crowd had swelled to as many as 800.
O’Berry said one or two people were critically wounded but their lives did not appear in danger Monday. The victims were 22 to 45 years old, he said, but did not give any other details.
The crowd had gathered in a vacant lot to remember Dominique James, Maj. Troy Tervalon said Sunday. He described James’ death as a homicide but wouldn’t give details.
James was missing for several days before officers in a helicopter found his vehicle May 8. James’ body was inside.
Federal, state and other local agencies are helping with the investigation in Bogalusa, a city of about 12,000 people 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of New Orleans, O’Berry said.
He said investigators think there were multiple shooters because they found more than 50 shell casings of various calibers.
With hundreds of people in the crowd, somebody knows who did the shooting, O’Berry said. He said he knows people are afraid and “loyalty may be an issue.”
“If you want your streets to be safe, you have to talk to us,” he said.
O’Berry said he has heard that some people claim on social media that the gathering had a permit.
“If anybody tells you that a permit was issued, they lied to you,” O’Berry said. “In no circumstances with COVID-19 going on would we have considered a permit.”