NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — City and school leaders are asking for help from the public in finding those responsible for fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy Thursday in Natchitoches.
“Senseless is how I’m describing the recent acts of violence here in Natchitoches,” said Mayor Ronnie Williams, Jr. said in a news conference early Friday afternoon. “I said not long ago and declared that we will not tolerate violence like this in our city. I stand here to double down on that declaration.”
The teen was shot shortly after 4 a.m. Thursday. Officers called to the 100 block of Sylvan Dr. arrived to find the boy suffering several gunshot wounds. He later died at a local hospital.
Mayor Williams is urging anyone with information that could lead to an arrest to come forward.
“It’s a sad situation right now. We are going to seek out anybody who is doing this type of act to the fullest extent. We got to make sure they’re brought to justice. It shouldn’t be that a mother is having to bury a 13-year-old child. We got to find out a way to shift the culture, to bend it back. Kids can be kids and you don’t have to fear for your life, so I know it’s gonna take a community effort.”
“We’ve had an increase in juveniles obtaining weapons and that kind of stuff, and we need to put that to an end,” said Police Chief Harman Winters, who says his department is aggressively seeking a suspect or suspects in the slaying.
“It makes no sense for a 14-year-old to get shot 10 times and for a 13-year-old to be in his bed asleep and then get shot. We’re gonna have to try every possible way to stop the violence.”
Watch the full news conference below.
Back in July, the city of Natchitoches teamed up with Crime Stoppers, which offers rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to arrests.
Meanwhile, school counselors are comforting the children who knew the victim.
“It seems like that process is really working. The students who are struggling are getting the help they need,” said Dr. Grant Eloi, Superintendent of Natchitoches Parish Schools. “We’re talking about our most precious commodity, which is our students, our young people. If you think about not reporting because you think that’s not the right thing to do, think about these students and their families that are dealing with this.”
Eloi added that even though the shooting did not happen at school, they are collaborating with local law enforcement to ensure that campuses are secure as possible.
District 3 City Councilman Christopher Petite echoed the mayor’s vow to not turn a blind eye to such acts of violence.
“We have too many guns on our streets and too many people in our communities who don’t have regard for basic human life. We have spoken with the mayor regarding the use of technology to help aid in violence prevention and we also formed a partnership with Crime Stoppers to help solve and fight crime.”
Another teenager was shot several times Tuesday morning at a home in the 900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. He was airlifted to an area hospital for treatment.
A teenager was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder in that shooting.
Anyone with information about this shooting is urged to call the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Det. Davanta Stevenson at (318) 357-3817.
You can also report a tip by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388. All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.