CROWLEY, La (KLFY) — Crowley police say the murders of two teenagers in 2020, 17-year-old Emori Carter and 15-year-old Vontre Phillips, sparked the creation of two gangs and a gang war in the city.
Police say shootings broke out nearly every day after the killings.
A team of Crowley police detectives has since put over twenty gang members involved in the shootings behind bars for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or attempted murder.
Detective Ryan Temple says the violence was initially sparked by the murder of 17-year-old Emori Carter, who was shot to death in May 2020.
After Carter’s murder, 15-year-old Vontre Phillips was killed in retaliation for Carter’s death.
Detectives say that’s when two gangs formed, bringing violence to the city.
“Mainly, there have been two homicides that everybody chose a side on,” Temple said. “We had the death of Emori Carter on May 15, and the retaliatory shooting that killed Vontre Phillips in his own home through his bedroom window on August 11.”
“From that moment, they all chose sides either for or against Carter, and from that, two gangs formed. And over the course between May 15 all the way up until December 31, we had 52 shootings, but 37 of them, we had intel to prove those were gang related from these two gangs.”
The STK, or “shoot to kill” gang, formed as well as the RVC, or “roam village crew” gang. The two rival gangs sparked violence and a rash of shootings across Crowley.
“Almost every other day, and sometimes twice a day actually, we would actually have shootings where we knew these two groups were involved with each other, and then we slowly started being able to put the pieces together before we had a complete picture of who they all were,” Detective Temple said.
Seven people died in over 100 shootings that broke out from May to December of 2020.
Detectives say an infant in the womb was even killed when his mother was shot on the interstate, a shooting police say was related to this gang war.
Since Emori Carter and Vontre Phillips’ murders, detectives haven’t stopped hunting down the criminals in the newly formed gangs.
“Since then, we have been able to put away 26 of 22 people that have been wanted for first or second-degree murder or attempted murder, so we have been hard at it for the last year. We have not caught our breath even,” detectives said.
Emori Carter’s mother, Toyonicka Cormier, says the shootings have drastically reduced since the team of detectives began making the arrests.
“Where my son is at, he should not be there. He should be playing ball in school somewhere,” Cormier said. “So anybody that needs help, don’t be scared to go to the cops for your kids to get help. They are here to help.”
Crowley police detectives say they still have at least four more people they are hunting down to arrest.
They say they won’t stop until each and every last one is behind bars.
The team of Crowley police detectives who have been investigating the gang violence and rash of shooting includes Detective Ryan Temple, Detective Rashawn Washington, Captain Melissa Whithers, Detective Alex Beede, and Detective Luke Fontenot.