‘It needs to stop;’ Crimes involving juveniles on the rise in Thibodaux

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 4:43 PM CDT
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THIBODAUX, La. (WVUE) - The arrests of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old in connection with the shooting death of another 15-year-old in Thibodaux are bringing a rising crime problem to the surface.

Officials say the number of crimes involving young teens is on the rise in the relatively quiet Lafourche Parish community.

“When something like this happens in a small town, it really hits home for everybody,” Thibodaux police chief Bryan Zeringue said. “Everybody takes notice and it affects the community in general.”

Police say Jairen Cole was shot multiple times at a home in the 1700 block of South Barbier Avenue on Sat., Sept. 10 around 6 p.m. He was rushed to a hospital and air lifted to another hospital before he died.

The 15-year-old suspect was arrested on Tuesday and the 12-year-old was taken into custody on Wednesday.

“Where are they getting the guns from?” Cassandra Every, a resident of Thibodaux, said. “It’s just sad at that age and their life is just gone.”

Zeringue says they have yet to determine if the teens knew each other or what the motive behind the killing was.

“I have grandkids almost that age,” Every says. “You really have to check and see where they’re getting these guns and stuff from.”

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Zeringue says crimes involving juveniles are on the rise and his department is working to put a stop to them before they get worse. Law enforcement agencies across Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Assumption Parishes are working together and are establishing a task force to focus on juvenile crime and gather intelligence on the streets.

“Just the other night we picked up an eight, a nine, and a 12-year-old for car burglaries,” Zeringue says. “So you start to wonder. It starts at home.... and it really hurts both sides. The victim side as well as the suspect side because these are young children as far as life goes.”

The most recent murder has shaken the small town.

“How can it be? Where was the kids’ parents at when this was going on?” Every continued. “It needs to stop. It really needs to stop because it’s ridiculous.”

The juveniles remain in custody at the Lafourche Parish Juvenile Justice Facility awaiting court proceedings.

If you have any further information regarding this incident, please submit a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers Bayou Region by phone at 1-800-743-7433 or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org.

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