GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Four suspects, described as "a group of very bad people" by deputies, have been arrested in connection with a deadly shooting that happened Thursday evening. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office say at least one more suspect is on the loose.
Isaac Prestley had his 23rd birthday this week and was gunned down in the community of Darrow just across the street from a packed church. Prestley was an only child.
Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office say Prestley was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cprien Nicholas, 29, of Gonzales; Demitoris Alexander, 48, of Gonzales; Tachi Williams, 28, of Gonzales; and Clarence Ruth, 19, of Darrow all face murder charges in Prestley's death.
All of the suspects were booked into the Ascension Parish Jail early Friday morning on charges of second-degree murder. Nicholas was also charged with illegal use of a weapon. Both Alexander and Williams had an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. No bond has been set for any of the suspects.
Officials say Tachi Williams and a friend of Isaac Prestley got into an argument earlier in the day and they believe that is what prompted the shooting.
Chief Deputy Tony Bacala with APSO reported deputies responded to a call of shots fired on LA 22 in the Darrow area around 6:30 p.m. Once on the scene, investigators learned Prestley had been shot and was driven to the hospital. He later died.
Isaac Prestley otherwise known as "Ike" was, by all accounts, a good kid who hung out with the wrong crowd lately, according to his mother Andrell Prestley. She says Thursday afternoon he left her house for 10 minutes and then she heard a volley of gunfire. Little did she know at that time that her son was laying mortally wounded, just blocks away. Prestley had been shot in the hip, severing a major artery.
Deputies say 50 shell casings were found near the scene of the crime.
"When I usually hear gunshots, I call his phone. So I called his phone and it went to voicemail. I jump in my car... and went to the (entrance to the subdivision) and everybody started running toward my car saying 'Ike got shot, Ike got shot, he got hit in his side,'" said Andrell.
Bacala added witnesses told investigators about a vehicle leaving the scene after the shooting and officers with the Gonzales Police Department pulled over a vehicle fitting that description a little later. According to Bacala, there were five people in the vehicle and one of them ran away as officers approached it.
The other four in the vehicle were taken into custody. Officials said it was discovered that one of the suspects, Ruth, had suffered a gunshot wound not considered life-threatening. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was then taken to jail after being released from the hospital.
Deputies also found four guns when the arrests were made.
Prestley's first child, a son, is expected to be born in two weeks. His mother says she will help raise the child.
During a news conference Friday afternoon about the arrests, Ascension Parish Sheriff Chief Deputy Tony Bacala announced that Tachi Williams has been arrested 14 times with multiple felonies, Demitoris Alexander has been arrested 11 times with multiple felonies, Cprien Nicholas has been arrested three times and Clarence Ruth has been arrested four times.
WAFB's Jim Shannon asked Chief Bacala why these people are allowed to walk around on the street, Bacala responded:
"You know what? Certainly I think the entire criminal justice system can do a better job identifying dangerous individuals such as these, and bring the full weight of the law to bear, and put them away for life. That's what needs to happen to these folks. And yeah, let me tell you, they have done some significant time. They have done five year sentences, 10 year sentences, but they get out and within months they are doing it again."
Investigators have not released a name or description of the man who ran away during the traffic stop. They added they have more suspects to identify and more witnesses to question. Bacala stated more arrests are possible.
He added the investigation is far from complete.