Last Modified: Monday, June 18, 2012 12:20 PM
WELSH — The family of the latest shooting victim in Welsh said the town needs outside help to put an end to the ongoing violence which has plagued the town since last year.
“We’ve had a lot of disturbances going on,” Kay Hill, the victim’s mother, told the Town Council on Saturday. “It’s a lost cause because nothing is being done.”
Hill was among two dozen residents at a special council meeting to discuss the strategy to quell the violence.
“I am not saying the police are not doing anything. I don’t feel they are equipped enough to handle these things,” she said.
Hill’s daughter, Rakisha Hill, and her friend, Jermaine Washington, were shot inside Rakisha Hill’s home at around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Police believe the shooter kicked in the back door and shot the couple in bed.
Raskiha Hill was hit once in the leg. Washington had multiple gunshot wounds, Kay Hill said.
Washington is in stable condition after undergoing several surgeries at an area hospital, Police Chief Tommy Chaisson said.
At least one person of interest has been interviewed in the case, he said.
Kay Hill wants the town to let “someone higher up” take over the investigation “because we have to find out what is going on.”
“They broke her door in, they can break anyone’s door in,” Kay Hill said. “I don’t want to wake up and open my eyes to the barrel of a gun.”
State police or the FBI could solve the crime “faster and in a better manner,” she said.
“This is serious and we need help,” she said. “I am not saying this because I feel my daughter is better than anybody else, but she’s my child and I want it solved.”
Kay Hill said she fears if the crimes are not solved, they will continue to happen and get worse.
“The wound is big now,” Mayor Carolyn Louviere said, comparing the ongoing violence to a cut on the skin. “We need help. It doesn’t mean we are not doing our job, but we need help to clear it up.”
Rosa Castille, Rakisha Hill’s sister, said, “We will have no young black men left if something is not done. If we don’t get help our children are going to keep dying.”
The state police, FBI, Attorney General’s Office, Jefferson Davis Parish District Attorney’s Office and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office forensic team are working with Welsh police on the cases, Assistant Police Chief Donald “Lucky” DeLouche said. The agencies offer expertise and equipment Welsh police do not have, he said.
Alderwoman Becky Hudson said a lot of people are afraid to give information to police for fear of retaliation and a lack of trust of police.
Residents who don’t trust local police can contact other agencies, Delouche said.
“I don’t care who you are giving information to,” he said. “I care about getting the information, but we can’t put an anonymous person on the (witness) stand.”
Jim Wright of the Welsh Citizens Concerned for Public Safety suggested residents who do not feel safe giving information to local police can call in reports of criminal or suspicious activity anonymously to state police at 491-2511.
The Rev. Nathan Stevens of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church said he has seen a lot of changes in Welsh in the past 22 years “not for the better, but for the worse.”
“I tell people Welsh is a good place,” Stevens said. “Killing is everywhere, but we are concerned about Welsh. It shouldn’t be as bad as it is in this town.”
Stevens fears that if an arrest is not made, the problems will become worse because those committing the crimes will get more confident.
The Rev. Jerry Jackson of the New Hope Baptist Church said there is too much division among Welsh residents.
“If we don’t come together, we can’t stop this,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to pull together and stand up.”
Alderwoman Gloria Viney, whose nephew was killed, said residents need to be concerned about the town as a whole.
“It shouldn’t be your end of town or my end of town,” Viney said.
Bernie McLaughlin, a reserve Welsh police officer for Welsh, said the council and residents need to work with and support local police.
“It needs to start with people coming forward wanting to give information,” McLaughlin said. “There is no reason they shouldn’t want to do that.”
He said the town has a “better police force than it realizes.”
Posted By: Walden On: 6/18/2012
Title: Re-deploy Police Assets
The crime rate continues to climb in town? Could the police assets used on I-10 be better utilized in town?