One Dead After Post-Homecoming Party

Four Arkansas-Pine Bluff students were shot, one fatally, at an unsanctioned party in Bienville Parish after the Grambling State-Pine Bluff football game.

Sheriff John Ballance of the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office said at least 50 gunshots were fired at the event at the Bonnie & Clyde Trade Days site on La. Highway 9 south of Arcadia.

Terrance Lewis Jr., 20, of New Orleans, was killed while leaving the party in a car with three others, all Arkansas-Pine Bluff students. Two of those were wounded.

Another person not affiliated with that group drove himself to Ochsner LSU Health Medical Center in Shreveport for treatment of a gunshot wound to the back of the leg. The man said he was wounded as he ran from the gunfire.

The incident occurred after GSU had just wrapped up a successful Homecoming without the violence that marred the 2021 celebration. Several people were shot and killed at events both on-campus and off-campus last year.

When Bienville deputies arrived at the scene about after 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, most of the crowd had fled. Deputies found 50 spent shell casings, ranging from rifles to small caliber pistols, Ballance said.

Ballance said his office was unaware of the party since no special event permitting requirement exists in the parish. An estimate of the size of the party was placed at about 3,000. The event organizer reportedly hired private security, but the extent of that security was unclear.

Another party occurred in a pasture on La. Highway 9 north of Arcadia. While no violence was reported there, cars creating a traffic hazard were parked on both sides of the state highway. The Sheriff’s Office towed 17 cars, one of them a stolen vehicle.

The towing company’s yard in Webster Parish was broken into and one of the stored vehicles was taken, apparently by the owner. The incident is under investigation by the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ballance said.

Since the event, the sheriff’s office has received numerous reports from people who attended the Bonnie & Clyde party finding bullet holes in their vehicles.

The sheriff’s office has no suspects in Lewis’s murder and the investigation is continuing.

Balance said neither event was sanctioned by Grambling State University or the Grambling State Alumni Association. GSU officials took extensive measures to ensure a safe campus during Homecoming Week, according to information released by the university. Prior to the game, GSU announced some of the precautions it was taking to avoid a repeat of the tragedies of 2021.

“We’re working with law enforcement agencies as far away as Shreveport to have an increased police presence on campus to try to make things as safe as we can for everyone on campus,” GSU Police Chief Rodney Demery said. “This partnership with all of these agencies is a unit, and we will all be working together.”

GSU brought in officers from at least ten outside law enforcement agencies to assist with Homecoming activities, including officers mounted on horseback from the Shreveport Police Department.

Demery said the university would utilize technology as well to protect attendees such as license plate readers, high definition cameras, and drones. A 10:00 p.m. curfew was imposed on the campus throughout the Homecoming festivities.

Monday the university released a statement about the success of its efforts to secure Homecoming. “GSU defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 36-10 in the football game, but that was a small part of what university administrators feel was a successful week of festivities with safety as the priority,” the press release said.

In the statement, Demery said, “This week and weekend went well. I’m pleased with GSUPD, faculty, students, and staff. “We [still] have work to do and will continue to educate our campus community and visitors on enjoying Homecoming responsibly.”

GSU President Rick Gallot agreed with Demery’s assessment of Homecoming week and shared his gratitude for visitors remaining amenable to the measures that were put in place for a safe experience.

“The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive,” said Gallot. “Alumni, students, and other attendees appreciated the enhanced safety measures in place this year.”

Unfortunately, unanticipated gatherings outside the security perimeter established on the campus tarnished another GSU Homecoming.

Sheriff Ballance pointed out that “Regarding the shooting at Bonnie and Clyde RV Park early last Sunday morning, whether there were 3000 or 300 in attendance, a young man lost his life over senseless gunfire. The real issue is no one saw anything!

If you have any pertinent information please call 318-263-2215.”

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