DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities are investigating a drive-by shooting that sent a child to the hospital early Wednesday morning.
"What the hell happened again in that area?"
Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley says that was his thought when he got a call about his deputies responding to reports of shots fired on St. Patrick Street in Donaldsonville around 2:45 a.m.
Investigators confirmed a 9-year-old boy was hit in the thigh while asleep in bed and taken to the hospital for treatment. They added his injuries are not considered life-threatening. The boy's mother and two older siblings were also inside the home.
Sheriff Jeff Wiley says the boy was not the target of the shooting, but they do not believe the incident was random. Wiley says his deputies counted 13 shots fired into the trailer. One shot in the front window went through the wooden headboard where the boy was sleeping.
"Looks like you aren't safe in your own home anymore," said Joseph Stewart, who lives near where the shooting happened.
Wiley says what happened is not out of the ordinary, as of late, when it comes to the section of Donaldsonville known as "Back of Town."
Detectives have not yet identified a suspect or established a motive for the shooting.
"Half my jail is full of individuals - thugs and gang bangers from that area," Wiley said.
He says the area is a priority for the sheriff's office. He plans to keep officers patrolling the area, but law enforcement, town leaders and the community need to figure out something to do with the ones who keep causing the problems. Wiley says that means getting a handle on the kids, the guns, the drugs and the issue of truancy.
"A lot of it's drug related directly, drug related indirectly. Where somebody is paying somebody back for something that somebody did," said Wiley. "These kids with these guns. I call them kids, they're teenagers and early 20's. They need to go to jail forever. For long, long times. Their way of life is without regard for other people's lives."
Wiley says he spoke with the 9-year-old victim, referring to him as sweet and innocent. He says he is glad he did not have to notify a family about a death in this particular shooting, but he is growing tired of the early morning phone calls because of violence in the area.
"The last two, three months we've had some newsworthy events," the sheriff said. "Stupid, violent people that give no value to life."
The shooting is still under investigation.
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.