LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Consolidated Government Administration and Police Chief gave greater details on what led to two dead and four shot in Moore Park last week.
The information was discussed in a joint council meeting.
Everyone first gave their respects to the victims, and then started asking what happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.
“After careful and thoughtful review of the incidents of that particular evening, the facts remain, it’s hard to see a situation where this particular incident could have been avoided,” said Cydra Wingerter, LCG’s Chief Administrative Officer, who is currently leading Parks and Recreation as it searches for a new director.
Wingerter explained the attendees of the Moore Park party removed a lock to a park gate and went deep into the heart of the 130-acre park.
As she said, “The attendees were seeking to be out of the eyesight of the law enforcement officers.”
A number of measures have been identified to prevent a repeat tragedy stated Wingerter.
They include additional park surveillance, lighting, and a new special park detail which will aggressively monitor parks and social media where the pop-up events are advertised.
Lafayette City Council Chairman Pat Lewis questioned Interim Police Chief Scott Morgan saying, “You hear rumors, and that’s what we don’t want. We want to go on facts.”
Interim Chief Morgan said his department did receive a call prior to the shooting about the crowd. The officer responding initially contacted a supervisor about what action to take next.
“Before the determination was made, that’s when the incident happened,” Morgan stated.
This is the third incident the Lafayette Police Department of large gatherings has seen in a months span, but it was the only one in a park. Another was at an apartment Morgan told News 10.
Councilman AB Rubin is glad to see more done by LPD to police parks, but he also said the community has a responsibility to police their children.
“We sitting up here arguing, ‘We should have did this. We should have done that’, but what should you have done? What could you have done in the community to help that child out? To keep that gun out of that young man’s hands?” Rubin passionately pleaded.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said park parking lots will now be closed to avoid a repeat of last week’s party.
“Taking a jog at 10’o’clock at night is different than holding a party for 500 people,” he said.
Some think more should be done to prevent late-night outings in any of Lafayette’s 32 parks. City District 3 Councilwoman Liz Hebert argued, “Nothing good happens after midnight and especially underage people do not need to be out in our parks.”
There is no current law closing park grounds at any hour, but LPD now has a departmental agreement with Parks & Recreation so that they can act as an agent to break up parks gatherings if need be.