Louisiana news briefs
Church shuts down house raffle, ticket refunds planned
LAKE CHARLES — Nearly two years after it began, a raffle for a house in the Oak Park neighborhood has been canceled, and its organizers must offer refunds to ticket-holders.
An official of the state Office of Charitable Gaming said Shiloh Baptist Church began a raffle for a house valued at $246,000 in September 2011.
The original drawing date was extended twice before being called off.
Michael Legendre, director of the state Office of Charitable Gaming, said the organization has shut down the raffle and is “in the planning stage of offering refunds” to people who bought the $100 raffle tickets.
The Rev.Barry Thomas said drawing dates had been extended because of low ticket sales.
In March, Thomas was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree battery. According to police reports, Thomas and eight other people were smoking crack in a mobile home in Moss Bluff when he fired 14 shots. Two people were hospitalized for gunshot wounds.
Police said they found Thomas lying on the ground in front of the home with a semi-automatic pistol pointed toward it. Thomas was also ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution for medical bills for the two shooting victims.
Firefighters find man’s body in B.R. mobile home
BATON ROUGE — Authorities say an unidentified man’s body was recovered from a Baton Rouge mobile home after it was engulfed in flames.
The man’s body was found inside the home after firefighters extinguished the fire early Monday. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.
Firefighters spotted the fire as they responded to another blaze that investigators suspect was triggered by an illegal methamphetamine lab in an apartment.
Two suspects — 34-year-old Joseph Garcia and 32-year-old Pietra Brocato — were arrested on arson charges after firefighters extinguished the flames.
A third suspect was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns that were described as severe.
11-year-old girl dies after shooting at N.O. home
NEW ORLEANS — Gunmen opened fire on a New Orleans home early Monday, fatally wounding an 11-year-old girl and injuring another child and a man, police said.
Arabian Gayles was shot in the head just after midnight and died at an area hospital later in the morning, according to New Orleans Police Department spokesman Garry Flot. Her name was released by a spokesman for the city coroner’s office.
Two other people — an 11-year-old girl who is Gayles’ cousin and an unidentified 38-year-old man — also were wounded in the shooting. Police said their injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the police department is “working around the clock” to identify suspects in the shooting and appealed for the public’s help.
“The violence in New Orleans won’t be stopped unless everyone gets involved,” he said in a statement.
Flot said a family was inside a home on General Ogden Street when shots were fired into the house around 12:15 a.m. Two other adults and several other children ranging from 4 to 9 years old were sleeping at the residence at the time of the shooting but weren’t injured.
No suspects were immediately identified, but police said they believe “multiple” gunmen fired at the house because investigators found different types of bullet casings at the scene.
“This is a case of unconscionable, reckless violence, which has devastated yet another New Orleans family, who must now make funeral arrangements for one of its children,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a statement. “And this child’s cousin must now try to heal both physically and emotionally after suffering gunshot wounds at the young age of 11.”
B.R. drivers with unpaid tickets aren’t punished
BATON ROUGE — Drivers who run a red light in Baton Rouge aren’t paying a price for failing to pay for a traffic camera ticket.
The city-parish government hasn’t penalized a single scofflaw for overdue payments since the cameras were installed in 2009.
Nearly 150,000 tickets have been issued and roughly 59,000 have gone unpaid in that time.
Running a red light in Baton Rouge carries a $117 fine and a $35 late charge.
John Price, an assistant chief administrative officer to Mayor-President Kip Holden, said the cameras were designed to promote public safety and deter offenders.
Money generated by the tickets is directed toward the Baton Rouge Police Department’s budget.
Man dies after being struck with wrench during a fight
BATON ROUGE — Baton Rouge police are investigating the death of a man who was struck in the head with a wrench during a fight last week.
A Monday news release says it happened after a woman walking toward her parked car early Thursday saw that the lights were on and that someone appeared to be inside.
Lt. Don Kelly, a Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman, said the woman alerted her boyfriend, who armed himself with a wrench and confronted Jerry Sheppard, 47, of Zachary.
Sheppard was struck in the head with the wrench. Kelly said he died Friday night at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical center.
Kelly said no charges have been filed but an investigation continues.
Police have not identified the woman or the man who wielded the wrench.
Son to discuss hunt for father’s lost submarine
NEW ORLEANS — A presentation focusing on the search for the lost U.S. submarine Grunion is planned Sept. 11 at the National World War II Museum.
Moderating the discussion will be John Abele. The session is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. in the Boeing center at the museum’s U.S. Freedom Pavilion.
The USS Grunion was lost in July 1942 when it submerged to evade a Japanese attack in the Aleutian Islands.
The boat was commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Mannert “Jim” Abele, father of John Abele.
Mixing his personal account with underwater footage and photos, Abele will discuss the efforts of the team that found the wreck of the Grunion.
To register for the session, contact the museum at 504-528-1944.
From The Associated Press.