NOPD leaving nearly 6 in 10 homicide cases uncleared as grieving mother waits for justice
‘I want them to be arrested for murdering my child,’ Chantell Bullock says
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Seven months after her 15-year-old son was fatally shot, a frustrated New Orleans mother still has more questions than answers as she presses detectives for progress on the case.
Rodkeys “Keezy” Petty was gunned down March 17 in the 4600 block of Lafon Drive, in the Plum Orchard neighborhood of New Orleans East. He was found shot to death in the backseat of an SUV.
“It’s still hard now. I’m in denial,” said his mother, Chantell Bullock. “I do believe it, because I go to the gravesite to see him. But it’s hard, as a mother, knowing.”
Bullock said Petty was a freshman at Livingston High School. A cornerback on the football team, she said he was a good kid who knew how to make everyone laugh.
“He just was a fun child. He wasn’t in the street,” Bullock said. “I never had a problem with him.”
But with no arrests in the case after seven months, Bullock said she’s growing increasingly frustrated by what she sees as a lack of response or progress from NOPD homicide detectives.
Bullock said she has had to call detectives for progress reports since May. She said she feels slighted that the investigators aren’t reaching out to her with updates.
“It’s aggravating,” Bullock said. “It’s unbelievable to know you have to constantly call someone, and your child was murdered. It feels like I’m screaming into the air. It feels like I don’t have the help that I need from the New Orleans Police Department.
“It feels like I’m just lost.”
An NOPD spokesperson said no suspects have been identified and no motive is known for Petty’s murder.
“The next of kin will normally have contact with the detectives when they are in the ‘victimology stage’ (at the beginning) of a murder investigation,” the spokesperson said. “After this stage, the detectives may call with updates if it’s determined that providing such information wouldn’t disrupt or interfere with the investigation. The next of kin are also provided the number to the Homicide unit, which they can call to request updates.”
The spokesperson also said victims’ families are given resources for counseling.
Bullock said she doesn’t need counseling, she needs justice for her son.
“I do know that I’m not the only one screaming and hollering for help,” she said. “But if you don’t push for it, you’re not going to get it. A 15-year-old child lost his life for murder -- shot multiple times -- and you still don’t have answers?
“I’m screaming for answers. And I’m going to continue screaming for answers until I get the justice I need.”
So far this year, the NOPD said it has cleared 42.5 percent of its more than 220 homicide cases. That means nearly 6 in 10 New Orleans homicide cases remain uncleared.
A case is considered solved when a suspect has been identified and an arrest warrant is obtained. But the case isn’t considered cleared until that suspect is in custody, confirmed to have died or for some other exceptional reason, the investigating agency is prevented from arresting the suspect.
In 2021, NOPD cleared 42 percent of homicide cases. The FBI said the national average for homicide clearances last year was 47.8 percent.
Metropolitan Crime Commission president Rafael Goyeneche said New Orleans’ sheer volume of homicides would create a hefty workload for any similarly sized department. But factoring in the department’s ongoing manpower crisis, Goyeneche said the caseload burden for NOPD investigators far exceeds the national average.
“I think, under optimal conditions, detectives shouldn’t have more than 5 or 10 active cases,” he said. “(Here) they have double and triple, maybe quadruple, that number.”
Anyone with information on Petty’s killing is asked to contact the NOPD Homicide unit (504) 658-5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
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