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1 dead, 4 injured in ambush shooting at Killona store

Five people were shot in Killona on Tuesday afternoon, including a 14-year-old
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 3:15 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. (WVUE) - St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne pleaded with the public to help stop a rash of street violence by groups that have plagued his parish and neighboring communities after one person was killed and four others injured in a shooting outside of a store.

Derzil “Zilly” Washington, 29, was killed Tuesday evening in the parking lot of a store in the small community of Killona. The victims included a man and a woman who are both at University Medical Center in critical condition. Another man suffered injuries and is listed in stable condition.

A 14-year-old boy was also shot. His father attempted to drive him to an area hospital, but crashed on River Rd. in Luling. First responders were able to get the child to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

Initial report: 1 dead, multiple victims in St. Charles Parish shooting

The father and other children in the car suffered minor injuries.

Joyce Perry lives on the street where the shooting took place.

“All I heard is pow, pow, pow, pow you know, like it was 15 times but I thought it was fireworks. I said, ‘ooh, let me go, let me go.’ See I stay down this street, and this here is like a tragedy now,” said Perry.

Champagne said they were ambushed outside the grocery store around 6:30 p.m.

“I think it’s safe to say that we have been dealing with an inter-parish group of, I don’t know what the proper word would be, family, clan, gang, cliques of individuals who are engaged in a cycle of violence, retaliation for violence and it continues,” he said, visibly frustrated during an afternoon press conference. “There is not a whole lot of information. We don’t know how many shooters were involved.

Witnesses told detectives there could be one, two, or three shooters.

The sheriff blamed the shooting on an ongoing, multi-parish feud between groups or possible gangs from St. Charles, St. John, and St. James parishes.

St. Charles Parish shooting
St. Charles Parish shooting

The sheriff said witnesses are not coming forward. He said these violent encounters, while not always as serious, have happened 10 or 12 times recently. He doesn’t understand why the public is reluctant to come forward with more information.

He said investigators can hear people at the crime scene talking about taking revenge on possible perpetrators, but no one will release names or video to police.

“Frankly, I don’t think this is the last one, in fact I know it’s not the last one,” Champagne said. “I don’t see it stopping anytime.”

A resident too fearful to have her identity known spoke of the ongoing violent feuds.

“This stuff has been going on for a while, so I don’t know,” she said. “Lately, it’s been wild, for the last year… I know the fighting and shooting. This has been shooting, not just fighting and shooting.”

Officers tried to get surveillance video from the store where the shooting happened, but the cameras were possibly damaged by Hurricane Ida.

“This was retribution,” the sheriff said. He said the time for police speculation is over and he wants someone to come forward to police or Crimestoppers with information about the crime. The sheriff’s department hears a list of the same names coming up as possible criminals, but there’s nothing concrete.

Investigators are going door-to-door in an effort to gather any evidence.

“People know, they know how they did it, what kind of vehicle they were in. They need to come forward,” Champagne said.

He said drugs are at the core of the violence and these are not just random acts of violence.

The man who was killed was shot at least three times in the back, and they believe he was the target.

Officers are flooding the areas where they see the most critical activity, but the activity dies down and pops up in other parishes or communities. Again, he said the actions of these groups seem related.

“It’s frustrating,” Champagne said.

Perry is pleading for peace.

“My heart goes out so deeply to the bereaved family,” she said.

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