Mancuso says escalation of juvenile violence ‘a parenting issue’
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the area is seeing an escalation in juvenile violence and is asking parents and guardians to be more watchful and to take control of their children.
Mancuso made the comments after his deputies responded to a fatal stabbing Saturday night involving teenage girls at an area Walmart. The case is the third homicide in six months involving juveniles ranging in age from 11-16.
“It’s Jan. 24, and here we are — we’ve had two homicides and a shooting. We’ve had overdoses. We as a society cannot tolerate this behavior,” Mancuso said. “This is our community, we live here ... the majority of us are law-abiding, good citizens. Even some of us that have some of these troubled kids are law-abiding, good citizens. But you’re going to have to find a solution for this ... you’re the answer.”
Mancuso said the violence is a cycle that must stop.
“We’re just fed up with it. This is not something we can police our way out of. I just don’t feel like this is a police matter — this is a parenting issue. We’re going to take an aggressive stance.”
Mancuso said curfew, which is 11 p.m.-5 a.m. on weekdays and midnight-5 a.m. on weekends, will be strictly enforced. If broken, he said parents can expect calls to pick up their children and court dates. The CPSO will also be launching a new app in February that will allow youth to report on things they see to better help these crimes go uncommitted.
A parish-wide Zoom conference will be held across several law enforcement agencies to discuss stricter, zero-tolerance policies with curfews along with meetings with local business owners about their rights, unsupervised youth and loitering.
‘We’re just fed up with it. This is not something we can police our way out of it.’
Sheriff Tony Mancuso
“It shouldn’t be tolerated by any of us, whether you’re the parents or a bystander. There’s people who saw this on social media or saw this coming and didn’t say a word,” Mancuso said. “We have got to do something to keep juvenile crime under control. We can arrest them, but it’s not going to solve the problem. It’s going to take parenting, knowing where their kids are, what they’re doing. I’m just pleading and urging for you to do that.”
He encouraged parents and guardians to play the part of role models and not tolerate this violence in the community and to not take it lightly.
The initial investigation revealed there was a fight between several young girls inside the La. 14 store, at which time a 15-year-old was fatally stabbed. The entire incident unfolded over various social media platforms, allowing detectives to get an idea of how the events played out.
Mancuso described it as a crime with “no remorse” and “very cold to see.”
“They come from all backgrounds, all races,” he said of those involved. “This is just a problem we’re having with the kids having access to weapons. In some cases, stealing weapons. In last night’s case, they stole knives from the actual store where they were at.”
As of Sunday, the detectives have arrested four girls ages 12-14. They were all booked into the Juvenile Detention Center. One is charged with second-degree murder and three are charged with principal to second-degree murder.
Other arrests may be made if any others are found to have participated or been involved with the homicide. The investigation is continuing and anyone with information is asked to call 491-3605.
The identify for the victim has not been made public.
“We’re a good community ... the majority of people that live in Calcasieu Parish are good people. We have to do something about it. We cannot sit back and let them destroy not only their lives and your lives, but other people’s lives. We have to take a stance as a community, and we’re only as good as you want us to be,” expressed Mancuso. “We can’t make excuses for why they’re doing this — that won’t fix the problem.”