Local law enforcement responds to crime spike

Published 8:06 am Monday, November 3, 2014

Neither Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper nor Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal knew of any quick fix solutions regarding the recent killings in the city and parish.

The City of Bogalusa has experienced four murders this year, including three killings since Sept. 13. The latest murder the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated was on Oct. 13 at the Exxon Station on South Columbia Road at Louisiana Highway Highway 21 South. Four individuals were arrested in that incident in which Demarquis Wilson died as a result of stab wounds. And Franklinton has not been immune to the recent wave of violent crimes, as the latest murder there was on Oct. 15. In that case, Willie McClain was arrested in the shooting death of Curtis Chatman Jr.

“Murder is one of those things we can’t prepare for,” Culpepper said. “It’s one of several crimes that no amount of police force can stop. All we can do is follow up on them when they happen.”

The Jan. 9 beating death of Darrell McLemore at his West 10th Street residence was the city’s first homicide of 2014. Denham Springs resident James Martin II was arrested in that case. On Oct. 6, Dominick Holts was arrested in the shooting death of Roderick D. Brown, Bogalusa teens Kennis Roberts and Harry Scott were arrested in the Oct. 12 killing of Antonio Brown, and Pomona, Calif., resident Larry Alderson was arrested in Mobile, Ala., for the Sept. 13 shooting death of Jonathan Roberts.

“We’ve had worse years in regards to murders, and we’ve had better years,” Culpepper said. “I don’t think it’s any worse than it has been. We’ve always had three or four murders per year. In 1995, we were in double digits.”

Culpepper said he hoped to see positive results from last weekend’s peace march organized by local ministers. Culpepper said there is no certain area of the city that is immune to violence.

“There is not an area we can target,” Culpepper said. “The killings have happened in all four areas of the city.”

Culpepper said there are five officers on duty on Friday and Saturday nights, and department detectives are used when necessary.

Culpepper said he takes violent crime personally.

“I do. I don’t like violent crime. When somebody is being hurt, I don’t want to see that,” Culpepper said.

Seal said the key to changing is personal accountability.

“I know we need to have a change in people’s lives,” Seal said. “I think it all goes back to drugs. Too many times the moms and dads feed them and then turn them loose. Anybody can be a mother. Anybody can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a daddy.

“We’re concerned with all the murders going on,” Seal said. “Until we can get drugs off the street, moms start being moms and dads start being dads, we’re going to continue to have this problem.”

Seal said his office is constantly working to prevent violent crime.

“There are two kinds of sheriff’s offices — reactive and proactive,” Seal said. “The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office has always been proactive. We’re out there patrolling. We’re out there riding the roads. We put the miles on our cars every day and every night.”