WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Top Story Top Story en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:07:46 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 School vice principal arrested, accused of sexting student http://www.wbrz.com/news/school-vice-principal-arrested-accused-of-sexting-student/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/school-vice-principal-arrested-accused-of-sexting-student/ Top Story Tue, 22 Jul 2014 8:58:10 PM Trey Schmaltz School vice principal arrested, accused of sexting student

BATON ROUGE- A vice principal was placed on paid suspension after being booked into jail on charges of computer aided solicitation of a minor Tuesday.

Edwin Chastang, one of the top educators at Southeast Middle School, admitted to police that he exchanged nude photographs with a 15-year-old student. The teenager said she and Chastang messaged each other on Facebook.

Police said they began their investigation after the girl's mother found the messages on her phone, which the teenager used since she no longer had her own mobile device. According to arrest documents, the conversations were sexual in nature and began in May.

Chastang reportedly told authorities he sent the lewd pictures after becoming intoxicated.

A jail alert system reported Chastang was released late Tuesday night.
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Fire torches Highland restaurant http://www.wbrz.com/news/fire-torches-highland-restaurant/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fire-torches-highland-restaurant/ Top Story Fri, 18 Jul 2014 8:48:27 PM Trey Schmaltz Fire torches Highland restaurant

BATON ROUGE- Firefighters spent Friday night battling a fire at a strip mall.

The fire appears to have started near the Arzi's Greek and Lebanese store in the Kenilworth Shopping Center shortly after 10 p.m.  

Fire investigators said the fire was caused by a fan motor located in the rear of the kitchen. Flames were seen coming through the roof in the back of the building when firefighters arrived.  

They were able to extinguish the fire leaving "very little fire damage, but the rest of the building did receive a lot of smoke damage," according to a release.

Other businesses in the strip mall received smoke but firefighters were able to blow the smoke out of most of those businesses.

Initial reports estimate $20,000 worth of damage was caused by the fire.

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Heated pre-trial testimony in boy's death http://www.wbrz.com/news/heated-pre-trial-testimony-in-boy-s-death/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/heated-pre-trial-testimony-in-boy-s-death/ Top Story Thu, 17 Jul 2014 3:18:56 PM Russell Jones, Troy Gaulden Heated pre-trial testimony in boy's death

BATON ROUGE - A pre-trial hearing in the murder of an 8-year-old Baton Rouge boy grew heated at times between witnesses and attorneys Friday.

A daycare owner testified she once saw Michael Robertson punch his son Xzayvion Riley multiple times in the chest after he came to pick the boy up. Xzayvion died two years ago after coroners said he was severely beaten, and authorities charged Robertson and his mother with first-degree murder.

The hearing is being held to determine what evidence of prior abuse will be allowed during Robertson's murder trial. Prosecutor Will Morris said it was their intent to prove Riley's death did not stem from one beating, but a "long, escalating pattern of abuse."

Robertson's attorney, Elizabeth Coe, challenged the daycare owner's testimony, asking if she recorded the instance in her records. The witness got upset during her testimony, leading the judge to call a recess.

A social worker also testified that during a home visit she found no evidence of abuse, but said something didn't feel right at the home.

Prosecutors will resume presenting evidence and testimony on Aug. 1, with the defense to follow in November.

Xzayvion's mother will be tried separately from Robertson.

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Mayor Holden welcomes World Changers volunteers http://www.wbrz.com/news/mayor-holden-welcomes-world-changers-volunteers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mayor-holden-welcomes-world-changers-volunteers/ Top Story Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:14:58 AM Brock Sues Mayor Holden welcomes World Changers volunteers

BATON ROUGE - Mayor "Kip" Holden welcomed nearly 200 student volunteers with the World Changers program to the Baton Rouge area on Tuesday with a press conference and a visit to the site where the volunteers will make their contribution.

The faith-based World Changers program gives teens a chance carry out a week of kind works for elderly and disadvantaged residents in the capital city.

The volunteers will set up camp at Florida Boulevard Baptist Church as they contribute to the community. One of the first homes to benefit was on Mason Avenue, where volunteers will do much-needed repair work over the next week.

The effort, sponsored by the Mayor's Office, the Mayor's Project Office and the Mayor's Office of Community Development, will encompass minor repairs for 35 homes in the area with all work performed by World Changers volunteers.


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Trooper: Crash scene looked like plane had exploded http://www.wbrz.com/news/trooper-crash-scene-looked-like-plane-had-exploded/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trooper-crash-scene-looked-like-plane-had-exploded/ Top Story Wed, 9 Jul 2014 8:50:13 AM Russell Jones Trooper: Crash scene looked like plane had exploded

BATON ROUGE - A state trooper told jurors in David Leger's vehicular homicide trial Wednesday that the deadly wreck from 2011 he's accused of causing looked like a plane had exploded on the interstate.

The trooper told jurors the wreck on was "overwhelming," and there was "complete chaos" when they first arrived at the scene.

David Leger is accused of driving drunk and causing the deaths of five people, three of which were children. Prosecutors said he got into a cat-and-mouse chase with another driver on I-10 due to road rage, then crashed into the vehicle carrying all five victims.

Attorneys gave opening statements earlier Wednesday morning. Leger's attorney, Thomas Damico, said he's prepared to show jurors the crash would have happened whether his client was drunk or not. Jurors also head from the parents of the two adults killed in the wreck.

The other driver in the chase, Kelsye Hall, was convicted of five counts of negligent homicide last year and sentenced to two years in jail. She was released Sunday after spending only nine months behind bars due to good behavior.

News 2's Rob Krieger is at the trial and will have updates starting at noon.

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Balloons released for kids hit, killed by out-of-control SUV http://www.wbrz.com/news/balloons-released-for-kids-hit-killed-by-out-of-control-suv/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/balloons-released-for-kids-hit-killed-by-out-of-control-suv/ Top Story Thu, 3 Jul 2014 8:27:23 PM Brittany Weiss Balloons released for kids hit, killed by out-of-control SUV

GEISMAR - Family and friends gathered for a vigil to remember two children killed while fishing with their father and two family friends.

"I can just remember them playing in the yard, just having fun and laughing," said neighbor Keisha Lang. "They'll truly be missed."

Saria Lanus, 9, and her brother Daylon Lanus, Jr., 6, were killed when an SUV lost control and ran off Bluff Road, hitting the group fishing on the side of the road. The Lanus children were pronounced dead at the scene. Their father, David Lanus and two other fishing partners were taken to a hospital in Baton Rouge.

Hundreds of pink, purple, blue and orange balloons, Saria and Daylon's favorite colors, were released into the sky in honor of the two children Thursday evening.

Daylon, who friends and family called "Duce," loved sports and was always outside playing. Saria, a cheerleader and gymnast was a friend to everyone.

Their aunt, Tiffany Darville says they were great kids.

"They were great at everything they did," she said. "As great as they were, they stayed humble."

State Police say the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.

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Livingston Parish road set for $2.7 million repair http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-parish-road-set-for-2-7-million-repair/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-parish-road-set-for-2-7-million-repair/ Top Story Thu, 26 Jun 2014 1:29:16 PM Troy Gaulden Livingston Parish road set for $2.7 million repair

KILLIAN - Louisiana Highway 444 in Livingston Parish is set for a multi-million dollar overhaul.

The Department of Transportation and Development says workers will repave 5.9 miles of La. 444 between Gum Swamp Road and La. 22 to improve ride quality. It's part of the state's $425 million quality surface program to fix roads.

People who drive the road daily described the bumpy road as a washboard.

"It's full of cracks, holes, divots... Looks like someone just dumped black plaster everywhere on something broke," said Cerissa Morse.

Residents say the road's condition is also tearing up their cars while they try to dodge bumps, potholes and cracks in the roadway.

"It's worn out. It's a rough road. It's a lot of potholes, a lot of broken up asphalt," said Kerry McNabb. "If you're pulling a boat trailer or something like that it's beating up your boat. It's just a rough road to be traveling on. It needs repairs real bad. They got one bad bridge on the road. There's a big bump. If you don't know about it and you hit it kind of hard, you're going to bounce pretty good."

Work for the nearly $3 million project could start as early as July. The Department of Transportation and Development says the work should take around 85 working days to complete. That means it should take construction crews about six months to complete the job.


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Police: Deadly shooting near Southern University, gunman unknown http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-deadly-shooting-near-southern-university-gunman-unknown/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-deadly-shooting-near-southern-university-gunman-unknown/ Top Story Sun, 22 Jun 2014 8:20:07 AM Greg Renoud Police: Deadly shooting near Southern University, gunman unknown

BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge police say a man was killed Saturday night after being shot in the face.

Jonathan Carter, 34, was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Investigators say it happened at around 9pm near Merganzer Avenue and Ave A, which is about 2 blocks north of Southern University.

Officials still don't know who the gunman is or what the motive is.

The shooting is still under investigation.


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Sheriff: expect lengthy ordeal around well leak site http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-expect-lengthy-ordeal-around-well-leak-site/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-expect-lengthy-ordeal-around-well-leak-site/ Top Story Fri, 20 Jun 2014 5:56:12 PM Trey Schmaltz Sheriff: expect lengthy ordeal around well leak site

PLAQUEMINE- The company responsible for a well that is leaking off Highway 75 will evaluate the situation and formulate a plan to deal with the danger, the sheriff said Friday night.

Highway 75 has been closed south of the city because of the situation.

"[The highway] is shutdown between Stassi Road and Jack Miller Landing," Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi told WBRZ News 2.

Stassi said deputies believe natural gas is leaking from the well. Stassi said the telltale sign of trouble, loud hissing, can be heard in the area. He said the well is in a clearing, surrounded by woods off the highway.

"The only family we would have to evacuate lives in a mobile home on property next to the well, but they don't appear to be home," Stassi said.

The sheriff said emergency responders trained in dealing with hazardous materials were on the scene.  Deputies are expected to man road blocks throughout the ordeal, which will likely last overnight and into Saturday morning.

No fire has been reported, but Stassi added it appears there could be oil leaking, too.

Watch for updates on WBRZ News 2 at 10:00 and refresh WBRZ.com for immediate updates.
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IMAGE: Google maps; Red = leak site; Yellow = Hwy closure


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Teen 'serious but stable' after high-speed chase http://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-in-serious-but-stable-after-high-speed-chase/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-in-serious-but-stable-after-high-speed-chase/ Top Story Thu, 19 Jun 2014 1:15:56 PM Brock Sues Teen 'serious but stable' after high-speed chase

LAFAYETTE - A dramatic high-speed chase late Wednesday started near Baton Rouge and ended nearly 40 miles later with the arrest of a registered sex offender travelling with a 16-year-old girl who is now hospitalized for stab wounds, according to authorities.

Witnesses reported seeing Steven Myers, 41, and Ashley Lyon, 16, at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, and a pursuit began as law enforcement tried to stop the truck driven by Myers.

The truck was pursued by multiple law enforcement agencies by the time the chase neared Lafayette, where local police deployed spike strips in an attempt to disable the truck. Video shot by a witness shows the chase nearing its climax after Lafayette PD's spike strips successfully deflated five of the truck's six tires, and the vehicle coasted on its rims with sparks flying.

Police said the chase finally came to a stop on the I-10 overpass at North University Avenue in Lafayette after one of the truck's tires caught fire. Myers got out of the truck and charged at officers with a knife, but was taken down by K-9 units and an officer with a stun gun, according to Lafayette PD.

The teen was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for multiple stab wounds, and law enforcement reported her condition was upgraded to "serious but stable" as of late Thursday morning.

Myers was also taken to an area hospital to be treated for dog bites and multiple stab wounds and is in serious but stable condition.

Lafayette Police Department Detectives and other law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation and Myers will face multiple charges, including attempted murder, upon his release from the hospital.


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Child killed, two others thrown from car in Assumption Parish http://www.wbrz.com/news/child-killed-two-others-thrown-from-car-in-assumption-parish/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/child-killed-two-others-thrown-from-car-in-assumption-parish/ Top Story Mon, 16 Jun 2014 7:08:16 AM Hunter Robinson Child killed, two others thrown from car in Assumption Parish

NAPOLEONVILLE - State police say an eight-year-old was killed when he was ejected from the car he was riding in. Two other children were also injured.

The accident happened just before 9:00 p.m. on LA-1 near Howard Ln. in Assumption Parish. Investigators say the car they were riding in ran off the side of the road, hit a culvert and utility pole and overturned.

The 26-year-old driver, Brian Gilton, and his three children were all ejected from the car. The eight-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. Gilton and the two other kids suffered minor to moderate injuries.

According to State Police, no one in the car was buckled-up at the time of the crash.

The wreck is still under investigation, but State Police believe impairment was a factor. They are waiting for the results of a toxicology report at this time.


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Parts of I-10 Basin Bridge closed until early Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/parts-of-i-10-basin-bridge-closed-until-early-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/parts-of-i-10-basin-bridge-closed-until-early-saturday/ Top Story Fri, 13 Jun 2014 6:57:55 PM Trey Schmaltz Parts of I-10 Basin Bridge closed until early Saturday

WHISKEY BAY- One person was killed in a crash on the I-10 Basin Bridge after the vehicle they were in flipped on the bridge deck and rolled off the side into the swamp Friday night.

There were five children and two adults in the car at the time of the crash.  It is unclear as of this post who the deceased person is.

The crash closed both westbound lanes of the interstate but one re-opened nearly an hour after the crash. An alert from State Police advised people to avoid I-10 near Ramah in Iberville Parish until 3 a.m. Saturday at the earliest.  Troopers said they will be closing the highway system intermittently overnight Friday.

Witnesses told WBRZ News 2, shortly after the crash the bridge was filled with emergency crews working to pull people from the swamp below.  Six people were rescued from the crash and one person was transported to a hospital by a medical helicopter.  Others were taken by an ambulance.  The seventh person died in the vehicle.

The crash happened at milepost 132.6, just west of where I-10 elevates over the Atchafalaya Basin.

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Local women among 15 sentenced for DCFS fraud http://www.wbrz.com/news/local-women-among-15-sentenced-for-dcfs-fraud/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/local-women-among-15-sentenced-for-dcfs-fraud/ Top Story Mon, 9 Jun 2014 10:17:42 AM Brock Sues Local women among 15 sentenced for DCFS fraud

BATON ROUGE - Individuals from Denham Springs and New Roads were among the 15 convicted of receiving more than $116,000 in ineligible benefits after an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services.

All of the convicted individuals were charged with falsely reporting household composition or income to illegally obtain between $2,000 to more than $20,000 in SNAP benefits. Some also illegally obtained child care assistance benefits, according to DCFS.

Kassia Culpepper of Denham Springs was sentenced to five years probation after she pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining $5,025 in SNAP benefits by failing to report her earned income.

Tara Foster of New Roads pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining $6,000 in SNAP and CCAP benefits after failing to report her husband as a household member and was sentenced to two years supervised probation.

All of the individuals convicted were ordered to pay fines, court costs and full restitution to DCFS.


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Amite River and Diversion Canal still closed http://www.wbrz.com/news/amite-river-and-diversion-canal-still-closed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/amite-river-and-diversion-canal-still-closed/ Top Story Sat, 31 May 2014 12:12:08 PM Greg Renoud Amite River and Diversion Canal still closed

GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says the Amite River and Diversion Canal are closed to recreational traffic.

The rivers were closed Thursday afternoon due to high water levels and floating debris after the high amounts of rain in the area over the past week.

Officials say the waterways are not expected to open up until at least Sunday.


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Two accused of forcing children to beg for money http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-accused-of-forcing-children-to-beg-for-money/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-accused-of-forcing-children-to-beg-for-money/ Top Story Fri, 30 May 2014 10:59:40 AM Brock Sues Two accused of forcing children to beg for money

GONZALES - Police said they arrested two people for dropping a pair of children off in a Gonzales parking lot and forcing them to beg for money.

Officers said they received a call stating that there was a young child in the park lot of a store in Gonzales begging for money. The 12-year-old child was unsupervised and had obviously been left alone to find for itself, according to police.

Investigators said the child told police their 10-year-old cousin was also dropped off, but officers were not able to find them.

Police said they learned that two subjects had dropped the juveniles off in the parking lots, and one of them was an older relative of the children. Several hours later officers said they stopped Jakeri Ellsworth, 21, and Keoril Green, 17, as they were circling the parking lot looking for the children they had dropped off earlier. Police said the 10-year-old they had been looking for was in the vehicle with the two subjects.

Ellsworth and Green admitted to dropping off the children to beg for money while they went shopping for mobile homes in the area, according to police.

Officers said the two face charges of cruelty to juveniles and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, and were booked into Ascension Parish Prison.

The children were unharmed and have been released to their respective biological parents, according to police.


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Email set up to report Ascension flood damage http://www.wbrz.com/news/email-set-up-to-report-ascension-flood-damage/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/email-set-up-to-report-ascension-flood-damage/ Top Story Thu, 29 May 2014 8:53:21 AM Brock Sues Email set up to report Ascension flood damage

GONZALES - Ascension Parish officials said people affected by the flooding on Wednesday should use the email address flood@apgov.us to aid the process of assessing flood water damage to homes and businesses.

Rick Webre, director of Ascension Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said citizens should include their name, address, phone number, and a description of damage to property including any readings of water levels.

Property owners should also include photos of the damage and make sure to include their address in the subject line of the email.

Those looking for more information regarding damage assessment or road closures can contact APOHSEP by calling (225) 621-8360 or visiting their website.


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Two Denham Springs men killed in Plaquemine wreck http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-denham-springs-men-killed-in-plaquemine-wreck/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-denham-springs-men-killed-in-plaquemine-wreck/ Top Story Thu, 29 May 2014 4:21:37 AM Russell Jones, Hunter Robinson Two Denham Springs men killed in Plaquemine wreck

PLAQUEMINE - State Police said two Denham Springs men died in a fiery wreck Wednesday evening in Iberville Parish.

Troopers said Charles K. Pope, 53, and Maurice A. Cormier, 52, were killed in the wreck on LA 1148 just west of LA 1 in Plaquemine.

Investigators said around 9 p.m. Wednesday Pope was driving west on LA 1148 when he lost control and ran off the road, hitting a tree. Troopers said the vehicle caught fire, killing both Pope and Cormier, who was his passenger.

State Police said Pope was wearing his seat belt, but Cormier was not. Investigators took samples from the scene to test for driver impairment.

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Stray bullet pierced window, hit sleeping teen http://www.wbrz.com/news/stray-bullet-pierced-window-hit-sleeping-teen/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/stray-bullet-pierced-window-hit-sleeping-teen/ Top Story Tue, 20 May 2014 3:29:34 PM Russell Jones, Brittany Weiss Stray bullet pierced window, hit sleeping teen

BATON ROUGE - A teenager was shot at an apartment complex when a stray bullet from a shooting blasted through her window Tuesday.

The shooting happened at the Elm Grove Garden Apartments in the 8700 block of Elm Grove Garden Drive.  Investigators said a group of people were fighting nearby when a gun was fired and a number of bullets struck one of the apartment buildings.

The 14-year-old girl was hit in the knee. The wound is not life-threatening and she's expected to be fine. Neighbors say the teen was lying on the other side of the window when she was hit.

"My baby was out here playing," described one woman. "He was like, 'Mama, mama, go outside they shooting, they shooting; they shoot, they shoot, somebody got hit.'"

Crime scene investigators were busy collecting evidence when WBRZ News 2 arrived on scene, a location police are familiar with.  One resident said the sound of gunshots has become the norm.

"It's their entertainment over here," said Jordan Tucker. "When you're over here, you've got to watch your back."

In June 2011, Ashley London, 19, was shot to death while she was sitting in her car with another person. The shooter ran up, shot her several times and then took off.

London's cousin, Felicia Harris says since then, the violence has not stopped.

"They pull guns like they gangsters and they not gangsters," she said. "They just pull some of these guns on people for nothing."

No arrests have been made in Tuesday's shooting.


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Troopers will enforce new I-12 lane regulation http://www.wbrz.com/news/troopers-will-enforce-new-i-12-lane-regulation/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/troopers-will-enforce-new-i-12-lane-regulation/ Top Story Fri, 16 May 2014 2:46:31 PM Troy Gaulden Troopers will enforce new I-12 lane regulation

WALKER - After several wrecks along Interstate 12, the state is cracking down on 18-wheelers using the left lane to travel through construction zones.

The Department of Transportation and Development is now demanding that all commercial truck drivers remain in the right lane from Walker to the Tangipahoa Parish line. Drivers in Louisiana are required to stay in the right lane except for passing. Now the state is making no exceptions for truckers.

DOTD put up signs saying "Trucks use right lane" along the Interstate. State transportation leaders hope the signs will help to prevent crashes involving 18-wheelers. DOTD is urging drivers to use caution to avoid swerving in narrow lanes.

Motorists we spoke with say the signs will help, but they would like to see truckers hit with citations for breaking the law.

"That's great. Now it's just enforcing it, cause a sign doesn't mean nothing if you don't enforce it," said Billy Stokes. "Just being there to be seen I don't think is enough. They need to issue citations on that. Then that would probably like 75 percent of it will go away. Not all of it, but 75 percent I think."

State Police say troopers will be on the look-out to write tickets to aggressive drivers and truckers driving in the left lane. Troopers say the new I-12 enforcement will be similar to that on the Whiskey Bay Bridge on I-10.


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Warrick Dunn hosts Mother's Day lunch http://www.wbrz.com/news/warrick-dunn-hosts-mother-s-day-lunch/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/warrick-dunn-hosts-mother-s-day-lunch/ Top Story Sun, 11 May 2014 3:43:14 PM Jessica LeBlanc Warrick Dunn hosts Mother's Day lunch

BATON ROUGE - Former NFL player, Warrick Dunn, held his first Mother's Day brunch to honor moms.

Dunn's mother was a police officer who was shot and killed while on duty. The former football star says he made it his mission to show appreciation to mothers in honor of his own.

"Moms today, across this country, that are going to provide for their families and that make all of the sacrifices sometimes in their families, they don't get that recognition. And this is the way to say thank you," said Dunn.

Betty's Hope, a program named after his mother was highlighted at the event.

The program focuses on grieving children ages 5 to 18, giving help to kids who lost someone close to them.

Dunn hopes the Mother's Day brunches will become an annual tradition.


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