EUNICE, La. (KLFY)- Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot says gangs are the main cause of shootings in the city.
He explains, however, there’s a difference between ‘gangs’ in Eunice and those across the country.
“There’s no big gangs. It’s not the Crips, it’s not the Bloods, it’s not anything like those big gangs that you hear about in the larger cities,” the chief said. “It’s just a small group of individuals that have a common interest in Eunice– and the illegal activity in Eunice.”
He says, that illegal activity includes Monday afternoon’s shooting. He tells News 10 all parties believed to be involved in that shooting have been involved in shootings in Eunice in the past.
“The officers on the streets, the investigators, they know all these people on a nickname, street name basis,” explains Fontenot.
They know them so well, he says, because just last year the police department had to send many of them to jail.
“We had this problem at the end of last year, first part of this year, where we were having shootings almost daily,” Fontentot said. “Once we were able to figure out exactly who it was and get the proof that we needed, and the witnesses finally started coming forward and cooperating, we were able to get them in jail. It stopped. Those people aren’t in jail anymore and it’s starting to pick up again. Where does that leave us?”
Fontenot says although investigators have ideas of who was involved in Monday’s shooting, a lack of physical evidence does not allow them to go forward and make an arrest. Instead, they need the public’s help to do so.
“If we don’t have those things, we have to have the public’s input. We have to have eye witnesses. Eye witnesses are our best resource,” he says.
He adds, one of the only ways to get these gangs to stop the violence in Eunice is for those involved to be behind bars. He encourages anyone with information to contact police.
Residents can call the Eunice Police Department anonymously at (337) 457-2626. They can also contact St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers at (337) 948-TIPS or online at www.P3tips.com.