The 14th annual Step 'N Strut took over Opelousas during the weekend, bringing in an estimated 30,000 people. Chief Perry Gallow said his department was busy, but he was expecting it. Gallow explained that there were disturbances during the event, such as break-ins and fights.
"Anytime you have that large amount of people in one area, that's to be expected. You have some people who take an event like this and seem to capitalize."
One violent incident took place early Sunday morning. Earl McCarthy was walking with his wife on the trail ride, when he was involved in a verbal altercation with a black male.
Gallow said, "A comment was made and he heard a gunshot, and realized he had been shot."
Police received the call after McCarthy was in route to the hospital. He said receiving the call late, mixed with the number of people and the large area hindered the investigation. According to police, the suspect was the passenger in the vehicle, which is described as a black Nissan Altima. Potential witnesses said the suspect may be from the Mississippi area.
As police investigate the shooting, Chad Daigle, an event organizer, said they took the matter seriously and are willing to help the police in any way possible. Daigle also explained that they will spend the next two to three days cleaning the Evangeline Downs property. He said every year is a learning opportunity, and that they look forward to doing things better next year.
"It's hard to put on something of this magnitude, but we try our best. Now we're going to take a break and sit back and relax. We look forward to next year if we're lucky."
Opelousas Police asks that if anyone has any additional information in reference to this incident, please contact the Opelousas Police Department at 337-948-2500.