What’s up with those gunshot reports?
Eunice residents face what seems to be a barrage of reports of gunshots heard at various places across the city.
The reports, called into police and posted on social media, are a mixed bag for responding officers.
People report gunshots in one place and then halfway across town there is another report of shots, Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot said.
“Somebody else is sitting in the neighborhood where shots were supposed to have been fired and say, ‘Well, I’m sitting outside and I didn’t hear a thing.’” he said.
“It leads me to wonder are all of these complaints legitimate gunfire complaints or are they hearing other noises and think it is gunfire,” he said.
Fontenot also says there is a criminal element behind the gunshot reports — real and otherwise.
“We’ve got a small group, a small part of our population that is involved in criminal activities,” he said.
The group has guns and “they do a lot of shooting in the air. Basically, I believe that is done for attention just to let people know they have guns,” he said.
“The other part is they are shooting at each other. They are not very good shots, which is probably a good thing. But they are shooting at each other. It is more or less a little turf war going on between this particular population,” he said.
“When we do run across them they don’t want to cooperate with us. They always say they don’t know who shot at them or they have excuses,” he said.
“We suspect that they know who is shooting at them and there are some activities going on that they are involved in that is leading to these incidents,” he said.
“I think drugs has a lot to do with it,” he said.
Fontenot described a victim of a March 9 shooting at Corn and Benoit as uncooperative.
Grazed in the arm by a bullet, Fontenot said the 17-year-old male said he didn’t recognize who shot him and didn’t know where or when he was shot.
“We re going to investigate all of these shootings regardless,” Fontenot said.
If police identify a shooter they will file charges even if the victim is not cooperating, he said.
“We’ve got to do something to stop it,” he said.
On the other hand, a 34-year-old man was wounded in the head in a shooting about 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the Kim’s Market parking lot.
The bullet first hit the car before striking the man with a non-life threatening injury, Fontenot said. The bullet did not completely penetrate the victim’s head and he was treated and released from Acadian Medical Center, he said.
Unlike the March 9 shooting, police have information and witnesses at the scene, he said.
The Eunice Police Department radio dispatch logs tell a story of officers responding to reports of shots fired.
The call about the shooting that wounded the teen on March 9 came in at 11:32 p.m.
Earlier that Saturday, there was a report of four shots fired from a vehicle in the 900 block of North Martin Luther King Drive at 2:12 p.m.
At 2:16 p.m., an officer talked to someone who heard what sounded like fireworks in the 100 block of North Martin Luther King Drive.
The next report on the log of shots was made at 8:59 p.m. March 11 of three shots fired in the 100 block of Faquetigue. The officer reported at 9:57 p.m. there was no evidence found of shots fired.
At 6:02 a.m. March 12 a call came in about gunshots in the Betty and Park area.
Also on March 12, a report of gunshots in the 600 block of South 2nd at 11:58 a.m.; and at 3:27 p.m. there was a report of gunshots at Tamaran Apartments.
On March 13, there were reports of shots fire around Cane and Mallet at 8:48 p.m. and a shooting at 11:03 p.m. in the 100 block of Townhome.
Those logs indicate the reports of shooting are not as frequent as social media would indicate.
Sometimes the logs report officers search a reported scene of gunshots and do not find shell casings or bullet holes.
Fontenot said if the gun is fired behind or in between houses it may be difficult to find casings.
“It is hard for us to pinpoint the location to find the casings,” he said.
Then there is the social media factor involved in the reports.
“I really believe social media has a lot to do with it. It stirs up hype and gets people excited. I think there are people that are saying stuff on social media that is not accurate,” he said.
“It is getting people nervous and jittery about things. Maybe a little over reaction sometimes,” he said.
Fontenot has another scenario about the reports of gunshots.
“The same night we had some of these complaints on the log we had a couple of burglaries ... it is a good possibility that they are doing that as a distraction,” he said of some gunshot reports.
The caller knows the report of gunshots will mean an officer is dispatched to the scene and that may open an opportunity for burglary, he said.
“We have ways of addressing that too,” he said.