DeSoto Parish Police Jury holds special meeting after weekend shooting

See new body cam video of shooting at trail ride in Grand Cane
The mayor of Grand Cane spoke Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at a special meeting concerning a trail...
The mayor of Grand Cane spoke Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at a special meeting concerning a trail ride that took place over the weekend in which thousands showed up, and one was shot.(KSLA)
Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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DESOTO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - The DeSoto Parish Police Jury called a special meeting after a shooting at a trail ride event in Grand Cane.

It was standing room only Tuesday, June 15 as community members addressed police jurors about the chaos that erupted the night of Saturday, June 12 and led to one person being shot.

Authorities say thousands attended the event that later got out of hand.

Footage from Saturday night’s trial ride in Grand Cane was shown during the meeting; drone footage over the event, photos of people allegedly trespassing and deputies carrying and providing aid to a gunshot victim after EMS couldn’t get through the crowd.

The special meeting was called to discuss how the police jury should move forward with issuing event permits.

The Mayor of Grand Cane, Marsha Richardson, said she didn’t know the event was happening until she was called to approve cars being towed.

“In years past we’ve been contacted, we’ve had provisions of where, what, when people could go,” Richardson said. “We knew nothing. We were blindsided.”

Other concerned citizens also spoke at the Tuesday night meeting.

“We are not here to stop the trail riding,” said Tammy Kennedy, Grand Cane resident. “It’s not the trail ride that is the issue, it’s the illegal activities that stem from it.”

Event organizers said they purchased 4,000 wristbands but ended up not distributing them all. They also stated only around 60 to 70 horse riders came to their event and apologized for it getting out of hand.

“First of all to the citizens of Grand Cane, I apologize,” said Xaviar Foster, with Big W Trail Riders. “That wasn’t something that should have happened.”

They also asked the police jury to not punish others holding trail rides in the coming weeks.

“We don’t want the whole trail ride association to be held accountable for the overflow of people that we didn’t even know was coming,” Wendell Whitaker, one of the event organizers said. “It was just what it was. We couldn’t prepare for it because we didn’t even know. I do want to apologize to all Grand Cane residents.”

Police jurors gathered Tuesday, June 15 at 5 p.m.

In the end, the police jury passed a motion to continue to allow events, including trial rides, without a limit on the number of people allowed to attend until the Policy and Procedure Committee can meet and discuss how to move forward with issuing permits.

Below is a video from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Mark Pierce says the video is split into three sections: drone footage over the property on the day of the event, body cam footage of when deputies responded to a call about gunfire, and deputies responding to a gunshot victim.

WARNING: Some may find the video below to be graphic.

In the second section of the video, police say they spotted a man with a gun. Pierce says deputies are still trying to determine if this man pointed the gun at deputies intentionally or swung it towards the deputies when he turned and ran through the crowd.

In the third section of video, the ambulance is unable to get through due to cars and people on the road. The deputies made their way through, got the gunshot victim and triaged him in the back their unit on the way back to the ambulance. Pierce says you cannot see it in the video, but event goers were pushing and kicking the deputy’s unit and caused damage.

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