Three recent gun-related crimes involving two local groups have led to multiple arrests, along with one suspect still at large, Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said Wednesday.
During a news conference, Caldwell discussed a May 14 invasion of a home on Arkansas Street, a June 4 shooting in the 2300 block of Ernest Street, and a June 5 shooting at the 2000 block of Winterhalter Street.
Caldwell said the city has already seen 58 shootings this year, up from 42 shootings last year. Some suspects in the recent crimes are connected to area "rap groups," he said.
"They may be a gang, but on the surface they present themselves as a rap group," Caldwell said. "And part of that, we're learning, is they deal drugs, maybe they deal in prostitution, even human trafficking."
During a news conference in March, Caldwell spoke of three local teens who were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Javid Duhon, 34, at the intersection of North Goos Boulevard and Knapp Street. That incident, he said, "stemmed from a rap group."
Caldwell said armed suspects kicked in the door of the Arkansas Street home and demanded money before leaving with cash. Arrested were Adrien "Ace" Gerard Weathers, 17, Antonio "Blocka" Debar Tompkins, 25, and a juvenile. The suspects face charges of home invasion, armed robbery and armed robbery with a firearm.
Police are actively searching for Kaylon "Chippy" Denzel J. Washington, 26.
After a shooting on Ernest Street June 4, police arrested Jeromie "Boogie" Dion Guillory, 40, Percy Cuba III, 40, Rolona Nicole Harrison, 43, and Damien "Dame" Jermaine Royster, 27.
Guillory and Cuba were charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of CDS 1 and 2 with intent to distribute and marijuana possession. Harrison was charged with possession of CDS 1 and 2 with intent and marijuana possession.
Royster was charged with assault by drive-by shooting and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bond is $601,200.
Guillory and Harrison are married. Guillory was hospitalized after the shooting.
Caldwell said a suspect, later identified as Jeromie "DeDe" Dion Harrison, 20, shot into a home on Winterhalter Street on June 5. Harrison — who is the son of Jeromie Guillory and Rolona Harrison — was charged with three counts of attempted second-degree murder and jailed on a $300,000 bond.
Caldwell said there are some links to the shootings, but he didn't go into specifics. Many suspects are local, but Caldwell didn't rule out outlying areas being involved.
"The web may reach out fairly far," he said.
Mayor Nic Hunter urged young people to think before committing a violent crime with a gun.
"One act ... can ruin the rest of your life, especially when we're talking about young people," he said. "Days like today are very disappointing."
Hunter and Caldwell also reminded residents to keep their cars locked and keep any firearms secured and out of view.
"Perhaps some of this can be solved by those simple steps," Hunter said.
Along with Kaylon Washington, police are searching for Darterious "Phat Daddy" Kemon Bartie, 23. Bartie is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from a shooting in February.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Washington or Bartie should call Det. Larry Newingham or Det. Willie Fontenot at 491-1311.