Donaldsonville community group holds town hall amid recent spike in murders, shootings
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If there’s one thing long-time Donaldsonville resident Kurt Mitchell isn’t used to, it’s the sound of gunshots.
“We don’t want one more bullet flying in our small community,” Mitchell said.
In 2021 and 2020, Donaldsonville had 6 shooting deaths each, compared to just one in 2019.
According to new data from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, there have been 35 shooting incidences and 5 deaths so far in 2022.
“I know the statistics will make you think the last two years was kind of an explosion, but we’ve been having a culture issue, and it’s slowly been progressing,” Mitchell said.
The combination of problems is the reason why the Sunrise Community Group held a town hall meeting to let residents share their thoughts on what they think needs to happen to get the city back on track.
“A lot of people like to turn their heads and say that’s not my problem, but we’re such a small community. My neighbor’s problem, it really is my problem. The people living across town, their problem is really my problem too. Because if they’re shooting at the gas station, I have to go to that gas station. If they’re shooting at Wal-Mart, guess where I have to get my groceries? So, it’s an everybody thing,” Mitchell said.
Glenn Price heads up the community group. He says a solution is a lot easier said than done.”
Just throwing money at the problem is not going to solve this problem,” Price said.
In a town where almost half the people are at or below the poverty line, Price says they have to find ways to create more opportunities.
”If we’re going to change this, if we’re going to give people hope, give them an alternative, we’ve got to bring opportunities here. We’ve got to bring employment opportunities. We’ve got to bring the things people need in life, so they can have hope in life and believe they can fulfill their dreams and aspirations,” Price said.
Price says any sort of change has to start at home.
”The goal is that everybody that attends the meeting, gets something from the meeting, goes home, and put what we discussed in effect in our own personal lives,” Mitchell said. “This isn’t a bashing session against the elected officials or the police department because they are trying, but they won’t be able to solve the problem without us.”
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