SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The community is reacting after a mother and young child were hit by a stray bullet while at a motel in Shreveport on Saturday, March 20.
KSLA’s Tayler Davis spoke with Councilwoman LeVette Fuller and people who live in the area behind Super 8, the motel on Monkhouse Drive where the shooting happened.
Like so many other people in Shreveport, Terrance Thompson is sick and tired of gun violence and he’s speaking out against it.
“That should wake some people up. That should make some people think, ‘What if that was a child?’” he said.
Police say an argument between two people led to gunfire in the motel parking lot. A stray bullet struck a 5-year-old girl and her mother, critically injuring the girl.
“We got to come to our mind and start to, the motel on Monkhouse drive. A bullet struck a 5-year-old, think what’s around us and stop just moving off of anger and frustration, whatever the problem is,” Thompson said.
Jimmy Wilson Sr., who lives on a street behind the Super 8, says violence is nothing new in the area.
“Every day, every night, it’s a shooting, killing, or drive-by or whatever. And it’s about to be summer. The pandemic is enough right now. We need to tighten down on these youngsters. It’s very frustrating,” he said.
Councilwoman Fuller says gunfire in the city often puts innocent people in harm’s way.
“Stray bullets have been an issue across this community. We hear regularly about children hiding in bathtubs because they fear bullets coming through windows,” she said.
Joseph Smith, the suspect in Saturday’s shooting, is a convicted felon. In 2016, he was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for crime involving a gun. This past weekend, police say he committed another gun crime and hurt innocent victims.
“Punitive systems need reforms,” Fuller said. “It does no good to remove someone from society if they will return to the community even more a hardened criminal. If a person is not rehabilitated and equipped with skills or opportunities to be gainfully employed, the cycle of violence and criminal activity will continue.”
“If there are no consequences that are harsh enough that people think twice about what they’re doing, if we’re not also looking at mental health, if we come together as a community and see this is not a community we want to be, we’re going to continue to see this off slot,” Fuller added.