Outcry erupts over arrests of 5 teens in connection with death of Ja’Kerion Calome

They were in handcuffs, shackles as they were escorted to, from the courthouse
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT
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HOMER, La. (KSLA) — While there is no new information about the shooting death of 18-year-old Homer High football player Ja’Kerion Calome earlier this summer.

There have been five people, including four juveniles, arrested on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

And now their family members and friends say they will fight for justice for the teens they’ve dubbed the Homer 5.

“These kids ain’t murderers,” one woman exclaimed. “I done been around all of these kids. They’ve been over my house. All they do is like girls and like to eat.”

She and others gathered outside the Claiborne Parish Courthouse in Homer on Monday (July 10) searching for answers.

“I don’t know what label these people putting on my baby and these kids. They’re wrong and we need justice. We need justice right now,” one said.

The five high schoolers were arrested last week. Parents are now infuriated after they say the sheriff’s office failed to provide warrants or consult with them before making an arrest.

“They didn’t give me a warning, his mother a warning,” a parent said. “They just went and drug my son off the football field at football practice. He’s the quarterback back over there at Homer High.”

Homer police were the first to respond to the scene and collect evidence after the shooting of Calome. Police Chief Van McDaniel said he was forced to recuse himself from the case due to family ties with the victim.

McDaniel said he was under the impression that Louisiana State Police alongside a Homer police officer and the sheriff’s office would be working hand in hand. However, the Claiborne Parish district attorney’s office turned the case over solely to the sheriff’s office.

“I think that this situation, what’s going on, is morally and ethically challenged,” the police chief said.

The four juveniles and 18-year-old were in handcuffs and had shackles around their ankles when they entered and exited the courthouse Monday. They are being held in the Claiborne Parish Detention Center.

“My thing is these kids are babies. They not gang bangers. They treating them like that,” one person said.

“To see my son in shackles, 14 years old, it hurt me to my heart,” a parent said. “I know he not done nothing; behind political reasons, it’s terrible. None of these kids done nothing. I grieve for the family that’s lost their child, but I grieve for my child for what he going through.”

Homer’s police chief said Calome’s family and these young men have not been able to grieve properly.

“Those young men’s lives are changed forever. Number one, because of what they witnessed inside that home. And number two, because of this process they’re going through at this moment,” McDaniel said.

“But the fact they’re being housed at an adult facility, it’s something that they will never be able to forget.”

This is a juvenile proceeding that is taking place despite them being held at an adult detention center. They are expected to be back in court Tuesday for a bond hearing.

KSLA reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment for this story and we’re awaiting a response.