PORT ALLEN – West Baton Rouge community members are mourning Saturday after a shooting during a high school football game the night before took the life of a teenager and hurt another person.
Port Allen councilmember Clerice Lacy was at the game between Port Allen and Brusly on Friday night. She found herself only feet away from where the 16-year-old and 28-year-old were shot. Both were taken to a hospital where the teen died.
“We’re just still in disbelief. It was such a devastating, tragic, incident that occurred, as a result of senseless acts of violence,” Lacy said.
The shooting happened near a concession stand that sits close bleachers where hundreds of spectators were watching the game. Even with so many eyes, law enforcement is unsure what happened. A suspect has not been identified.
Landon Groger with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said the violence will not be tolerated.
“There were children at the event, I mean this is the first football game that we had for this year,” he said. “Everybody was excited to get out you know, the heat has been upon us and we just wanted to get out underneath these Friday night lights.”
Lacy agrees, saying that Port Allen is not unfamiliar to crime, but she doesn’t want to see it take over West Baton Rouge.
“We must move forward,” Lacy said. “We must continue to support one another and stand. We are one West Baton Rouge Parish. We have two different schools, but we’re one parish. What affects one affects the other, and this definitely did that.”
How to move forward has been made unclear. In an interview on Saturday, Groger mentioned working with West Baton Rouge Schools to evaluate safety measures for upcoming games but no specifics were given.
The West Baton Rouge School Board sent a statement on Saturday morning, saying they will be assisting the family of the student who died and crisis teams will be at schools on Tuesday when classes resume to talk with high school students.
Superintendent Chandler Smith said efforts in schools to teach students how to handle situations without violence will be doubled.
“We have on-going programs in our schools that teach students ways to resolve disputes with their peers. We will re-double those efforts and work with the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and others in the coming months to teach our students that violence destroys many people’s lives,” Smith said in a statement.
West Baton Rouge Schools declined making their leaders available for interviews.