UPDATE: Three former Lutcher High School students, including one juvenile, have been arrested after deputies say they broke into the school and attempted to set it on fire.

No injuries were reported, but several areas of the school in the school were vandalized.

“We have damage to the school system,” said St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin. “We had an attempted arson to the school.”

It was a busy morning for law enforcement officers in St. James Parish as they responded to Lutcher High School and a nearby neighborhood.

“We have thefts to the school,” explained Sheriff Martin. “We have counts of attempted burglaries in Gramercy on Magnolia Street, so these three individuals are going to be charged before the night is over.”

Justin Kruger, 19, of Paulina, and Mason Ainsworth, 18, of Paulina, were booked into the St. James Parish Detention Center with simple burglary and simple arson. 

According to Sheriff Martin, before officers responded to the school, they received a call around 4 a.m. about an attempted burglary.

“While they were working that neighborhood, looking for these individuals, we had a description of one of the individuals taken from the Ring camera,” the sheriff said. “We were working that area, and dispatch received a call that there was a smoke alarm going off at Lutcher High School.”

The same person seen outside of a home on North Magnolia Street was also caught on the school’s surveillance.

According to Martin, when officers arrived at the school, they assessed the damage and learned the suspects forced entry through a door on the west side of the Lutcher High School.

Investigators say five classrooms were vandalized, as well as the cafeteria and the main office where the fire was started.

The sheriff says they are in communication with school officials.

“They see what we’re seeing. If there are some things that they need to go back and review regarding security at the school, I’m sure they’re already on that,” said Martin. “I know they’ve indicated some things that they were going to be working on immediately.”

The sheriff says he is grateful for the community’s response.

“Certainly because of the support that the community has given us and helping through the tips that this thing is pretty much ready to be closed out,” said Martin.


Disclaimer: All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

LUTCHER, La. (WGNO) – The St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding three people deputies say are responsible for vandalizing Lutcher High School on Sunday.

On the department’s Facebook post, they explained that just after 3:30 a.m., local law enforcement officers received a call about a smoke alarm going off at the school. When they arrived, they found evidence that there was an attempt made to light the property on fire.

Deputies say they also found a number of classrooms that had been vandalized. The extent of the damage done is not known at this time. The Facebook post includes photos of the suspected individuals.

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If anyone has any information, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 225-562-2200. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Nixile.