The shooting of 13 people in Bogalusa Saturday night attracted national news media coverage.
Details of the shooting spree appeared on many national and even international media websites, including NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN, as well as the websites of large American daily newspapers from coast to coast.
An internet search on Monday showed literally thousands of references to the Bogalusa shooting.
It’s not the kind of news coverage that Bogalusa needs or wants, and city officials have stressed during the past few days that the city is relatively safe, despite the alarming shooting incident.
Sheriff Randy Seal and others have pointed to drugs and perhaps drug dealing as a possible cause of the gunfire. Seal was widely quoted in the media Monday when he said, “Satan has taken over Bogalusa, and it’s time we take it back," referring to drugs and drug trafficking.
The shooting happened several hours into a large event that was planned as a memorial for Dominique James, a Bogalusa resident who was murdered several weeks ago.
Boglausa officials said there was no permit for the event and that it was illegal without a permit and also illegal because such gatherings are not allowed due to the COVID-19 situation.
Bogalusa police said approximately 800 people gathered for the event, held near the corner of Martin King Luther Drive and East Fourth Street. Bogalusa police officers came to the event and attempted to control it, but the few officers available had little effect on the massive crowd.
Several hours into the evening event, gunfire erupted. 13 people were injured, some critically. The injured were between 25 and 45 years of age, police said.
Those shot included 12 men and one woman. The injured were taken to Our Lady of the Angels hospital in Bogalusa and other trauma centers.
Police were called when the gunfire started, and officers reported that shots were still being fired as they approached the area.
Bogalusa police found more than 50 shell casings of different calibers, indicating that more than one shooter was involved. In addition, one law officer pointed out that with more than 50 shell casings found, it was fortunate that only 13 people were hit. “It was very bad, but it could have been even worse,” he said.
Despite the size of the crowd --- approximately 800 people --- officials said no one has yet been able or willing to identify the shooters.
Sheriff Seal said he is certain that some of those in attendance know who fired the shots, but, he said, “They fear retaliation.”
He urged those who can identify the shooters to come forward.
In addition to identifying the shooters, Bogalusa police said they will also attempt to find out who organized the event in the first place. Charges may be filed because the gathering was completely illegal, police said.