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East Feliciana Sheriff forms task force to investigate rural shootings

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CLINTON - The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office says it has formed a special task force after a rash of rural shootings  in recent months has left three men dead and a fourth injured. 

Sheriff Jeff Travis says a task force of about 20 will operate out of the East Feliciana Parish Jail building while local and federal authorities investigate the shootings. Members of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office could be seen among the task force members outside the jail Tuesday morning. 

Sheriff Travis says law enforcement officials from surrounding parishes, state police and the FBI met at the jail Tuesday to discuss the case. The sheriff clarified that officers from the West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge and St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Offices are taking part in the investigation.

"It's very serious to us, and we're giving everything we have," Travis said after the meeting.

The announcement comes after the latest shooting occurred Monday morning, leaving 48-year-old Brad DeFranceschi dead near his Clinton home.

DeFranceschi's death comes amid a rash of gunfire along rural highways near the East Baton Rouge – East Feliciana parish line. The shooting Monday was the fourth – the third where someone died – since early September.  Previous shootings were in the Bluff Creek, Port Hudson-Pride Road and Hwy. 960 areas.

Authorities say reports they received of a drive-by shooting in Pride Tuesday afternoon were unfounded. 

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