Sheriff: Mt. Hermon drive-by shooters arrested

Published 4:59 am Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chief Deputy Mike Haley announced Friday evening that the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested three teenage suspects, in connection with multiple gunshot incidents in the Mt. Hermon area in April of this year.

Early in the morning of April 11, 2017, between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., numerous residents of the peaceful community of Mt. Hermon in rural northwest Washington Parish woke to the frightening sound of gunfire as numerous bullets struck their residences, Haley said, noting that in some instances, the bullets struck within inches of where someone was sleeping.

Bailey Joseph Koon

Haley said that WPSO patrol deputies responded immediately and thoroughly searched the area but were unable to locate the unknown shooters. Detectives took over the case and worked diligently, following numerous leads and interviewing and eliminating several persons who were initial suspects.

The Mt. Hermon community responded with legitimate concerns and Sheriff Randy Seal held a community meeting to answer questions and address the concerns of residents, Haley said. Seal offered a substantial reward and many in the Mt. Hermon community generously contributed to increase the reward fund. Meanwhile, detectives continued to work on the case daily.

“Detective Sgt. Jimmy Seals took command of the investigation and painstakingly investigated every possible angle to the senseless shootings,” Haley said. “Finally, within the past couple of weeks, the case began to come together and the shooters were identified.”

Dakota Gage Tetreau

On Friday, Sept. 9, almost five months since the shootings, the WPSO arrested three young men and charged them with the crimes. They were placed in the Washington Parish Jail, where they remain awaiting a bond hearing early next week.

Arrested were Dakota Gage Tetreau, 19, a resident of Shady Lane in Franklinton; Desmond Harold Warren, 18, a resident of Poplarhead Road in Franklinton; and Bailey Joseph Koon, 17, a resident of Erwin Road in Franklinton. Each is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault by drive-by shooting, aggravated criminal damage to property and attempted manslaughter.

Firearms used in the shootings have been recovered and the investigation continues, with more arrests possible, Haley said.

Desmond Harold Warren

“From the moment this occurred, our detectives have worked tirelessly to bring the shooters to justice,” Seal said. “Finally, all of the hard work paid off and the shooters are behind bars. I want to extend a special thanks to Detective Sgt. Jimmy Seals who left no stone unturned in his quest to identify the shooters and to all of our detectives who spent many, many hours working on this case.

“I also thank the good citizens of Mt. Hermon who patiently waited while our detectives sorted out all the details of this matter. Now that the shooters have been identified and jailed, those citizens can sleep a little better tonight.”

Seal discusses arrests at Monday press conference

During a press conference held Monday afternoon at the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office in Bogalusa, Seal went into additional detail about the investigation and the arrests.

Seal noted that witness statements revealed that a 3-year-old, an 8-year-old and two adults were almost struck by bullets that penetrated their homes. He said warrants were used to examine cell call records from the Mt. Hermon tower, and several leads were initially followed but those suspects were eventually ruled out using DNA, fingerprints or polygraphs.

Seal said that in June, Det. Jimmy Seals began to visit parking lots within the city limits of Franklinton, to talk with teens who regularly gather in the lots. The teenagers were made aware of the shooting incidents, and were asked to give any information they may have in reference to the suspects.

Seal said that additional leads began to come in, and the investigators were repeatedly told that Warren and Koon were involved. In early September, it was discovered that Warren’s cell phone had “hit” the cell tower approximately 43 times within the timeframe of the shootings, Seal said.

Warren was interviewed on Friday, Sept. 8, and confessed that he, Koon and Tetreau committed the shootings, Seal said. Warren also reportedly said that Koon was the driver of the Nissan Altima, Tetreau was the front seat passenger, and Warren was in the rear seat. Finally, Seal said Warren revealed that the weapons used were a .22 long rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .410 gauge shotgun.

Seal said detectives then obtained arrest warrants for all three suspects, and located Koon and Tetreau at an address in the Richardson community within a couple of hours. A search warrant was obtained for the residence, and a 12-gauge shotgun and .22 lever action rifle were located, Seal said.

Seal said that Koon and Tetreau also confessed to the shootings later that day.

“The interviews produced voluntary confessions that each of the young men participated in some manner in the shootings,” Seal said. “Each confessed to shooting mailboxes and road signs, but pointed to the others as the ones who shot into the residences.

“None of the subjects could or would give a reason why the shootings happened, other than stating they were being careless and stupid.”

Seal said that there are no additional suspects at this time, but the investigation is still ongoing. He noted that fingerprints and DNA samples have been submitted to the crime lab.

“I hope the good citizens of these rural communities can sleep better, knowing that the shooters have been arrested,” he said. “I am so grateful for the cooperation of all persons during this investigation, and I give special thanks and kudos to our fine deputies and detectives, particularly Jimmy Seals who was the lead investigator.”