American Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
Michael and Jake Dugas 

Michael and Jake Dugas 

Family members charged: Father, son face charges for accidental shooting at school

Last Modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 8:17 AM

By Marilyn Monroe / American Press

A 50-year-old Moss Bluff man and his 17-year-old son were arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting Monday of a 7-year-old boy at Moss Bluff Elementary, authorities said.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Michael Dugas, of 437 Erika Lane, turned himself in to authorities at 1:30 p.m. and was charged with negligent injuring and improper supervision of a minor.

His son, Jake Dugas, was arrested at their residence and charged with negligent injuring. Mancuso said the charges are all misdemeanors.

“They are not charges that they are going to spend years in jail for,” he said at a Thursday news conference. “But it is what we could charge them with.”

Mancuso said the two are the cause of the accidental shooting of Gage Meche, who suffered an abdominal injury after a child picked up a gun that had dropped out of the backpack of another student in a first-grade classroom. He said Meche was an innocent bystander and that the two other children involved were not culpable for their actions.

“At that age, they don’t have any clue what they are getting into and what the consequences could be,” Mancuso said.

Michael Dugas is the father

of the boy who took the gun to the school; Jake Dugas is the boy’s brother.

“Basically, what transpired was that the father gave the 17-year-old a gun for protection and let him keep it in an unsecured location in the house,” Mancuso said.

He said the small, tan-colored .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun was kept in a shoe organizer that was hung in the bedroom that both boys shared. Mancuso said an unlocked fireproof gun safe was in a closet just a few feet away and was not being used.

“(This) is a deviation below the standard care expected of a grown adult in the community,” said Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier. “We need to be sure we secure firearms in places where they cannot be accessed by children.”

Mancuso said authorities aren’t sure how the handgun got into the child’s backpack.

He said Meche, who is recovering in a Lafayette facility, is improving after undergoing surgery on Monday.

“When I talked to (his mother), she said that they were going to try and get him up, sitting in a chair. And he is doing that now,” he said.

School Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus said counseling has been provided to teachers and students at the school. And he said the school system continues to review how to keep schools safer every day, as they have done for a “number of years.”

“I think our schools do a tremendous job with the safety of our kids,” Mancuso said.

Judge Clayton Davis set Jake Dugas’ bond at $2,500.

Bond was set at $5,000 for Michael Dugas, who is facing a Sept. 5 trial date in a separate case on charges of vehicular homicide and first-degree vehicular negligent injuring connected to a 2015 car crash in Moss Bluff that resulted in the death of a 63-year-old Lake Charles man. Authorities said he was driving impaired at the time.

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