There is an epidemic of gun violence in Monroe that is growing by the week as leaders are puzzled about what can be done to solve the problem.
In the last three weeks, there have been at least four shootings in Monroe and a fifth Tuesday night in West Monroe.
Tuesday night in the 100 block of Montgomery Avenue in West Monroe someone shot the driver of a vehicle and two passengers. Police report that one victim was shot in the body, one victim was shot in the face and another victim was shot in the neck. Police say these two victims are in critical condition.
Three arrests have been made in connection with this shooting.
Police have identified them as Alicia Andersen, Nigel Frazier, and juvenile suspect. Andersen and Frazier will be booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center. The juvenile will be booked into Green Oaks Detention Center.
Police say all three will be charged with three counts of attempted second-degree murder.
This past weekend multiple shootings occurred in Monroe, on S. 4th Street and Elm Street, claiming the life of a 16-year-old known as Jaquarrius Roberson or “Quez” and leaving a ten-year-old in critical condition.
Another shooting happened at 4205 Elm Street. Officers arrived to find a black male juvenile injured from a single gunshot wound.
The wound did not appear to be life-threatening, and the victim is recovering.
The parents of the victims have given no comments to the police or the media.
That’s the story. Witnesses and residents, and even some victims are reluctant to identify suspects, fearing retaliation.
In the four shootings that have happened, three people have died, and several have been victims of gunshots, including children, but still, the silence prevails.
No one wants to be the next victim, which is what is feared will be the payback for “snitching.”
City Council Chairlady, Juanita Woods has made a public plea for residents to identify the suspects. She promised that there would not be any retaliation for those who come forth.
However, it’s not police retaliation they fear.
“Nobody can promise that if they come out and tell what they know that they won’t be outed. If that happens, if you get outed as a snitch, you’ll be next, and your mama, sister or baby brother,” one South 4th Street resident told the Free Press Tuesday.
The number of victims keeps climbing, the violence doesn’t seem to cease, and those in the City of Monroe are desperate for an end.
Worried about the image the increased gun violence would create, the city hired a crime consultant in 2017 and paid him $25,000 to show the city how to reduce gun violence.
As a result, the city hired a $47,000 youth officer to work with elementary and high school students. The mayor said it was the city’s response. He said calls to go further were not his choice.
Even as the youth program unfolds the shootings, which don’t involve students continue to increase.
Has the consultant’s advice reduced violent crime? The city responded by saying the consultant has “fulfilled his contractual obligations,” and effectively sidestepped Back in 2017, the City of Monroe hired a crime consultant for $25,000 to help the city come up with a plan for crime prevention.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, as well as parish law enforcement officials, maintain that crime in Monroe is down statistically, even as reports of shootings and gun violence continue.