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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Three killings in three months: Southlea neighborhood hoping for answers

Credit: WLFI
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Three killings in three months: Southlea neighborhood hoping for answers
Three killings in three months: Southlea neighborhood hoping for answers

Neighbors are still shocked by a string of three killings in a span of about three months, from late September to early January.

Neighborhood are still reeling after a series of killings in a short period of time.

As part of a special report, news 18's joe paul spoke to police and visited with neighbors to discuss how the community has changed over the years.

Two slayings here in southlea neighborhood remain unsolved.

That's left neighbors feeling shaken and hoping for answers.

But police say they're on top of the cases.

Nat pop many people use the same words to describe southlea, a working-class, southside neighborhood full of single-family homes.

Mathew: "it's a quiet neighborhood."

Rigdon: "it's kind of a quiet neighborhood."

So they were by a string of three killings in a span of about three months.

From late september to early january.

Map: the victims were 28-year-old amber barrett, 46-year-old marc sherwood and 40-year-old michael holmes.

Only one person has been arrested.

Mug shot: nike haynie faces murder charges in sherwood's death.

Court doc: but haynie argues the alleged stabbing was in self-defense, according to court records.

As for the other two cases& mathew: "of course everybody would like to have answers to anything that's going on, to like to know more about it, but we haven't heard anything and no information has come forward, so at this time, nobody seems to know."

Robin mathew has lived in the neighborhood for 29 years.

Mathew: "lafayette used to have three murders in a year and now we've had three in one neighborhood in a very short period of time.

It's kind of surprising."

That's changed the atmosphere of the community, located south of beck lane between ninth and 18th streets.

Rigdon: "afraid to open their doors.

Afraid to do a lot of things around here and i can't blame them."

Rose rigdon has lived in the neighborhood for 52 years.

She says more neighbors than before are keeping their doors locked and porch lights on.

Rigdon: "i remember a time when we didn't even have our doors locked in this neighborhood, but it's all changed now."

Standup: but lafayette police department says the numbers tell a different story, that there's very little violent crime in the area, that the killings weren't connected and there's no ongoing threat to the community.

O'shields: "it's a safe neighborhood & there's no place in lafayette that you can't go and be safe and live your life and do what you need to do."

Graph: police records show low crime numbers in southlea, but more crimes happened in 2020 than the prior two years.

O'shields: "the data shows that it's a safe neighborhood, there is no spike in crime there and, again, those homicides were just unfortunate incidences."

Lpd sgt.

Ian o'shields says the spate of violence was a coincidence.

O'shields: "there's no connection between them.

They're unfortunate and unnecessary crimes that occurred but they were not linked."

O'shields also says the killings weren't random acts.

O'shields: "the separate incidents, the individuals involved all knew each other, and so, as far as the safety of the neighborhood, there's no concern there."

Lpd has ramped up patrols in the area and detectives are still working the cases.

Mathew: "you just hope that the police are on top of it, working on it."

Months later, neighbors are trying to move on.

Rigdon: "who knows?

They may never find the person & you can't just be scared to the point where you can move or leave your home either."

Lpd is urging residents in southlea and across lafayette to reach out about crime in their area.

You can do that by phone, online and even on social media.

You can find links on our website, wlfi.com.

Reporting in lafayette, joe paul, news 18.

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