Local and Area News

Active shooter drill at Oakdale High School

On Thursday, August 28 starting at 8:30 am the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, the Oakdale Police Department, and the surrounding fire departments will be participating in an active shooter training at Oakdale High School.

The exercise is part of an ongoing mission to make sure that Allen Parish schools are safe as possible. The schools sent notices home with all of the students to inform parents of the exercise.

The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office would like to emphasize this is only a training exercise in order to prevent any undue alarm.

Student who hit Natchiotches Center student to be charged as adult

The 16 year old who hit another Natchiotches Central student who late died will be tried as an adult.

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office has filed the proper paperwork through the 10th Judicial Court for the juvenile involved in the Homicide at Natchitoches Central HIgh School to be tried as an adult.

Timmy Robinson, 16, of Natchez, LA, ahs been arrested on once count of Manslaughter and transferred from Ware Juvenile Detention Center in Coushatta, LA to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center in Natchitoches.

He currently is awainting a bond hearing at a future date.

18 year old Johnquaries Smith, a Natchitoches Central High School student, passed away Tuesday, after being hit by a fellow student on school grounds Monday afternoon.

Neighbors say they're "shocked" that couple locked child in cage Posted on 8-27-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- There are new details emerging about a husband and wife arrested by Alexandria police for allegedly locking one of their seven children in a cage.

Police say 52-year-old Joseph Chapman and his wife 35-year-old Jennifer Chapman were charged with "cruelty to a juvenile" after acting on a child abuse tip last week.

News Channel 5's Brooke Buford went out to the neighborhood to talk to neighbors about the family and the arrest.

 Neighbors say they knew something was up at a home in the 1300-block of Park Avenue, but they just didn't know what.

"It's something twisted," said Pamela Burns, a neighbor.

"I kind of figured something weird or strange was going on," said Matthew Cross, another neighbor.

Alexandria police say they acted on a tip that Joseph and Jennifer Chapman were keeping one of their seven kids in a cage.

Police say Joseph Chapman admitted to it.

"Once our officers got there, they were informed by child protection services that they were acting on a tip that a child was being held in some type of cage in the residence," said Lt. Bruce Fairbanks of the Alexandria Police Department. "This information was confirmed once contact was made with parents."

Pamela Burns, who lives down the street says her daughter would often try to play with one of the Chapman's sons, but he wasn't allowed to leave the house.

She says she was shocked to hear they were arrested.

"All I saw when i came out of my house was child protection and the police," said Burns. "We were wondering, what? What's going on? Then everything got out and about and I said, what? I just can't believe that! I really couldn't. I couldn't believe it."

Another neighbor, Matthew Cross, says he was surprised as well.

"It's kind of strange that they would do that to kids," he said. "They have a van that they drive that has Bible scriptures on it. It just doesn't make any sense."

Police say whenever you see something suspicious, don't be afraid to speak up. You never know who's life you may be saving.

"Anytime that you feel a child is being abused either sexually or physically, always either contact the police department or child protection services and report it," said Lt. Fairbanks.

Joseph and Jennifer Chapman were booked into the Rapides Parish Jail, but posted $1,500 bond each.

Meanwhile, we're told the seven children were removed from the house by authorities.

 

We tried to get in touch with the family, but were unable to.

UPDATE: student who hit Natchitoches Central student to be charged as adult Posted on 8-27-14

NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The 16 year-old who hit another Natchitoches Parish Central student whom later died will be tried as an adult.

Timmy Robinson, 16, of Natchez, La. has been arrested on one count of Manslaughter and transferred from the Ware Juvenile Detention Center in Coushatta to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center in Natchitoches. 

 He currently is awaiting a bond hearing at a future date.  
 

18-year-old Johnquaries Smith, a Natchitoches Central High School student, passed away Tuesday, after being hit by a fellow student on school grounds Monday afternoon. 

News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow spoke with Smith's football coach about how much the teen is already missed. 

"Number 53 will live on," said Chiefs Coach Brandon Helms as practice began Tuesday afternoon. 

It was a tough one for the team, as one of their own is missing. 

Helms said, "the locker room is different, he's the one that kept the locker room loose. It's been quiet and somber in the locker room."

Helms said outside linebacker Johnquaries Smith was someone any coach would be lucky to have on their team. "He's a kid that comes from a background of hard work. Football was important to him, this school was important to him. He was a constant teammate, all the guys loved him."

Officials say Monday during lunch hour, a senseless act occurred.

"A student walked by another student and for whatever reason, he stopped. They looked at each other and then as they were talking, one student hit the other," said Superintendent Dale Skinner.

The incident involved just the two students. The suspect threw one punch and the victim hit his head right on the ground. 

Skinner said, "at NCHS, the halls are concrete, and he hit his head on the concrete."

Detective Brad Walker of Natchitoches Police Department said, "it was not a brawl, it was not a gang fight. This was a battery committed by one individual on another, and they were the only two involved."

Smith spent the night in ICU, and died Tuesday as a result of his injuries. 

"He was a good kid, he wasn't a problem. Very unfortunate situation, we feel for him and his family," said Skinner.

It's a loss that is very tough for those who knew him, to comprehend. 

"You can ask why all you want, and you're not going to get the answer. The thing is though, Johnquaries loved life, he enjoyed life," said Helms.

Though he will no longer play on the field, Coach Helms said he knows Johnquaries will always be looking down on his Chiefs. 

As for the 16-year-old suspect, his charges have been upgraded to manslaughter. 

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's office has yet to decide whether he will be tried as an adult.

RPSO arrests man for false imprisonment, battery Posted on 8-27-14

DEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On August 18, 2014, Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputies from the Deville Sub-station responded to a complaint of an incident which occurred involving a battery and false imprisonment. 

The victim stated she was held against her will at a residence on Bohannon Road in Deville, and also stated a battery was committed on her. 

The victim eventually got away from the suspect and made it to a nearby home where she was helped by the home owner. Detectives responded and began their investigation. A suspect was identified as Shannon Michael Gillette, 34, of Pineville. 

On August 22, detectives were able to develop enough evidence to obtain arrest warrants on Gillette. 

On August 25, Patrol Deputies located Gillette and he was arrested without incident and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. He was charged with 2 counts Simple Battery and 1 count False Imprisonment. He was later released on a $1250.00 bond.

Students and parents concerned after batter at Natchitoches High School leaves 18-year old critically injured

An official at University Hospital Shreveport said that Johnquaries Smith, 18, was transferred from the ER to the Pediatric ICU at about 3 or 4 p.m. and said it sounds like the student "may be stabilizing a little bit."

Smith was airlifted to UHS from a Natchitoches hospital Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries. According to police, it happened about 12:30 p.m. at Natchitoches Central High School when Smith, was allegedly "sucker-punched" by a 16 year old student. The hit reportedly cause Smith to fall back and hit his head.

Smith was non-responsive when emergency crews took him to Natchitoches hospital, said Capt. Brad Walker, with the Natchitoches Police Department.

The alleged attacker has been arrested on a charge of second-degree batter, but charges will be upgraded if the victim dies. He is being held at Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.

Walker said the fith was not gang-related and there was no fight before it happened. Officers stayed on the campus along with the school resource officer until the end of the day.

According to the NCHS football roster, Smith is on the 14-15 varsity football team in a linebacker position. He is expected to graduate in 2015.

Fort Polk letter campaign final day

Alexandria, LA- Time is running out for the public to show support for Fort Polk, as the post faces a potential downsizing of more than 6,000 troops. Midnight marks the end of the public commenting phase.

News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow found out where Fort Polk stands now and what comes next.

Michael Reese of Fort Polk Progress said, "what we learned this morning is there are at least 3 bases with more than 10,000 comments received out of the 30 bases, and we know that we're one of those top 3."

"We're very competitive and we want to be number one, so we are working ituntil end of business Monday until we can no longer postmark letters and tell people to go online to click and send that way," said Deborah Randolph of CENLA Chamber of Commerce.

One thing is clear to organizers, the response from CENLA residents has been overwhelming.

Reese said, "just last week we heard reports form Rapides Hospital, England Airpark, the CENLA Chamber of Commerce with literally thousands of written letters. At the same time, the online petition has just been growing and growing and I believe pushing 7,000 is beyond that."

Randolph added,"to know that people support military families who serve at Fort Polk, it's a great feeling."

But this public response is just part one. Once the public comment phase ends, Fort Polk Progress will prepare to challenge the Army's assessment of the post.

Reese explained, "we'll transfer into the military value analysis phase, and Fort Polk stands on its own when it comes to that. We have some of the most exceptional maneuver space, air training space available, and some of the most exceptional deployment facilities. Their training is hands down the best the army receives anywhere in the country and the army tells us that constantly."

Fort Polk Progress says even though things look good, it's important to stay focused.

"we just have to try and keep all that info accurate, keep it in front of the decision makers to make sure it's all take together as the army makes its final analysis," said Reese.

Battery at Natchitoches Central High School

Natchitoches, LA- An 18-year old man is in the hospital and a juvenile has been arrested after an incident at Natchitoches Central High School Monday

The Natchitoches Police Department received several calls and radio traffic from the school resource officers requesting an ambulance at Natchitoches central at 12:31 p.m. Officers, along with medical personal, responded to the school and found an 18-year old male on the ground unresponsive. The victim was transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where he was then air-lifted o University Medical in Shreveport by helicopter.

After investigating the incident, detective arrested a 16-year old juvenile on one count of second degree battery, and placed him in Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.

The victim is listed in critical condition at this time.

According to police, this incident was not a large fight involving multiple people. Police also report that was not a gang fight of any kind.

The statement reads: "The Natchitoches Police Department has two full time officers assigned to Natchitoches Central, and both officers were at the school at the time of the incident. Other officers arrived to assist and some stayed until school was let out but at no time was any specialized units (ie. SWAT) called for assist. This appears to be a random act of violence against one person by another single person."

911, mom found unconscious Posted on 8-22-14

GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a 6-year-old child reporting that her mother was unconscious in her car in the driveway of the family home. 

When a deputy arrived, he discovered an unconscious female in her car with a 6-year-old child.  An ambulance was called and deputies identified the unconscious woman as Keri Silk, 23, of Pollock.  

Deputies also discovered a large number of prescription pills in the vehicle and on Silk.  She was transported to a hospital for medical attention and the prescription pills were sent for analysis.  

The child was released to a family member and the Department of Family and Children Services was notified.  Deputies issued a warrant for Silk's arrest and on August 18, 2014, Silk was arrested for Possession of CDS II (Oxycodone), Possession of CDS IV (Alprazolam), and Illegal Use of CDS in the Presence of a Minor.

Anti-terrorism exercise held at Camp Beauregard Posted on 8-22-14

 ALEXANDRIA, la- (KALB News Channel 5)- An anti-terrorism exercise was held at Camp Beauregard. The exercise is part of the Guard's anti-terrorism plan. Federal, state and local first responders all participated in the event.

The story behind the exercise involves a simulated terrorist attack on the Camp Beauregard base. The attack is perpetrated by a National Guard soldier suffering from PTSD. It involves suspicious packages, a chemical weapon and an explosion with deceased and injured victims.

Many of the first responders said it is important to hold this joint training. 

"It's good because we're about to learn from each other and deploy our tactics and integrate our information with other agencies," said Lieutenant Darrell Basco with the Pineville police department. 

"Anytime we do a drill like this it's a plus for us because we can find out where our problems are and we can iron them out," said Allen Bernheisel, Chief of EMS.

The Louisiana Army National Guard conducts this exercise annually in accordance with the Department of Defense policy.

Collaborative investigative efforts result in child predator arrest Posted on 8-20-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Investigators from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit/Alexandria Field Office arrested Ernest Kickel Jr., 66, of Leesville, on Monday, August 18, 2014 for attempted aggravated rape and for trafficking of children for sexual purposes. 


Earlier in the day, LSP's Special Victims Unit (LSPSVU) received information from the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office Task Force (VPSOTF) in reference to Kickel Jr. They advised that they had received information, through investigative procedures, that Kickel was attempting to buy a 10-year-old child for sexual purposes.  LSPSVU and VPSOTF immediately combined investigative efforts, thus gaining more information regarding these criminal acts.   

Based on information gained, LSPSVU obtained a search warrant for Kickel Jr's residence.  After serving the search warrant, items were located in his residence corroborating Kickel Jr's plan to have sex with a minor child.

“The Louisiana State Police is committed to investigating and arresting those who sexually exploit and victimize our children.  These are atrocious crimes that threaten the most innocent of victims, our children,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “We will take a firm stance against those that choose to engage in this type of hideous illegal activity.  Our investigators will be proactive with investigative procedures and will deploy every resource available to intercept and arrest these types of criminals.”

“This is one of the most disturbing incidents that law enforcement is encountered with,” said Sheriff Sam Craft, Vernon Parish Sheriff.  “The protection of our children will always be handled in a swift and decisive manner and with this type of behavior the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department will always respond accordingly.”

Kickel Jr. was booked into the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department Detention Center.  Bond was set at 1.5 million dollars.  The investigation remains ongoing.

The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is also available to the public through a convenient and secure reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. Citizens can access the form by visiting www.lsp.org and clicking the Suspicious Activity link. 

Judge rules against Jindal in Common Core lawsuit Posted on 8-20-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge has ruled against Gov. Bobby Jindal in a lawsuit filed by Common Core supporters, lifting a contract suspension Jindal enacted to derail the multi-state education standards.

Judge Todd HernandMGN Onlineez issued a written ruling Tuesday.

He said Jindal's suspension of contracts the education department planned to use to buy testing material aligned with Common Core is causing harm to parents, teachers, administrators and students.

The contract suspension has stalled standardized testing plans for third-grade through eighth-grade students in Louisiana's public schools.

Jindal's attorney Jimmy Faircloth says he will appeal Hernandez's ruling.

Parents, teachers and a charter school organization sued Jindal after he suspended the contracts, alleging he violated constitutional separations of authority over education policy.

Faircloth argued that the governor exercised his legal authority over state contracting.

Pollock Inmate Escapee Posted on 8-20-14

POLLOCK, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding an inmate who walked away from the Federal Prison in Pollock. 

26 year old Jose Garza was incarcerated for drug charges and a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Garza is a Hispanic male, standing at 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds. 

He was last seen wearing grey sweats.

Anyone with information is asked to contact to the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office at 318-627-3261.

Imon Jones not seeking re-election

"I would like to take this time to annonce that I am not seeking re-election in the upcoming fall election. I have served the Florien District for the past 16 years and have strived to improve not only the Florien school system but the Parish system as well. As I look back it  has been a pleasure serving with Mr. Dan Leslie, Mr. Dorman Jackson, and currently with Dr. Sara Ebarb, the former and present board members, and most importantly the Principals and staff of Florien High School. I thank those who entrusted me with decisions concerning our children-our future. I ask that as you elect a new board member that you pick the person that you feel will represent and stand up for the betterment of education in Sabine Parish. Thank you again for this honor to serve, it has been rewarding and I feel I have learned a great deal."-Imon Jones

Shreveport Police officer involved in shooting while in Natchitoches Posted on 8-13-14

An on-duty Shreveport Police officer assigned to a federal task force charged with apprehending violent criminals was involved in a shooting this afternoon in Natchitoches Parish.

Just after 5:00 p.m. on August 12, 2014 members of the United Stated Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force were in Natchitoches Parish working to track down a man wanted in connection with a shooting in Texas earlier today. Authorities located the offender and while attempting to take him into custody a Shreveport Police officer fired at least one shot from his department issued service weapon striking the suspect in the lower body. The suspect was subsequently transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The officer, whose name is not being released at this hour as per departmental policy, has been placed on routine paid administrative leave by Chief of Police Willie Shaw.

State Employee Layoffs Posted on 8-13-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - After six years of state worker layoffs, no rank-and-file state employees have been targeted for pink slips this budget year.

That's according to the Department of Civil Service, which issued its latest monthly report on layoffs Monday.

Nearly 8,400 classified state employees - those who have civil service job protections and aren't at-will political appointees - have been laid off since 2008, as the state struggled with repeated budget gaps and Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed to shrink the size of state government.

But this year's budget, which took effect July 1, didn't target any classified positions for layoffs, according to the report.

Most of last year's 2,300 layoffs involved workers at LSU hospitals privatized by Jindal. Many were rehired by private hospital managers, though not necessarily at the same salary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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