At least nine children were wounded in a shooting on Saturday, at a birthday party in Louisiana after a verbal duel between two groups of young boys, the police have said. Two out of nine are still in hospital on Monday while the rest were treated and released.
The birthday party of a 12-year old at Golfview Drive in LaPlace, Louisiana was taking place in a garage when neighbours heard gunshots around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. The authorities have said that more than one weapon was used.
Eight of the nine victims were all boys between the ages of 12 to 17. The two, aged 14 and 16, still undergoing treatment at a hospital were shot in the head and stomach respectively. Doctors have said that they are in stable condition, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
At least 60 people were present at the birthday party of a 12-year old. The sheriff’s office had initially said that six were injured in the shooting but updated the number to nine on Monday. Police have said that the investigation so far has been “frustrating” and that no arrests have been made yet. Sheriff Mike Tregre said: “We have not one witness, not one person that saw anything yet. So we’re trying to solve it on our own right now.”
One neighbour, Rashad Bolden, who lives a few doors down from the house where the party was ongoing, was quoted by WWL-TV saying that he saw paramedics take some victims to the hospital and that the victims were all children. He said: “I looked out my window and saw a whole bunch of people scurrying, so I came outside.” He added, “For someone to just shoot into the garage full of kids, that’s kind of heartless.”
The shooting took place around 8:30 pm on Saturday.
Sheriff Tregre has said that they will continue the investigation till somebody comes forward with more details. “We will not stop. We’re going to continue at this. Somebody’s gotta come forward. This cannot just go like this.” He admitted that he has received tips but nobody has recorded a formal statement.
Authorities believe that the two feuding groups of boys had a tussle going on for some time and at the garage, during the birthday party, they started arguing. The Associated Press reported that besides the boys, one 12-year-old girl had also sustained gunshot injuries in both her legs.
Meanwhile, Mr Bolden was quoted by WWL-TV as saying: “You want to call it heartless, but you know they are not old enough to know what heartless is.” Most of those shot had “non-threatening” gunshot wounds. Bolden said: “I think everybody made it to this point. Thank God for that.”
Sheriff Tregre said: “I am asking witnesses to come forward with information to help us learn more about what happened.”
At least 38,000 people die from gun violence every year in the US.
In a report published last year and titled, Untraceable: The Rising Specter of Ghost Guns, by Everytown Research and Policy, it was mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic created a historic spike in gun sales across the country. It said: “Panic buying at gun stores is concerning enough, but at least these sales are subject to a background check. Unfortunately, the online market for unserialised ghost guns has reached epidemic levels during this national emergency.”
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