City leaders concerned department at center of deadly shooting has gone rogue
BATON ROUGE - The Attorney General's Office is mulling an opinion on what powers a rural marshal should have after complaints from a city council in Central Louisiana.
The concerns come from Marksville city leaders and are centered on the department that was involved in a deadly officer-involved shooting Tuesday night. A six-year-old was killed in a barrage of gunfire when marshals opened fire at the end of a police chase. The child was the son of the man driving the vehicle, accused of taking officers on the pursuit when he ran while the officers were trying to serve a warrant. Witnesses said two marshals opened fire on the vehicle, killing Jeremy Mardis and injuring his father, Chris Few. Mardis was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle, next to his father.
State Police are handling the investigation.
"I feel like everything happened for a reason, even though it is tragic. Still, things happen for a reason and maybe this is a light for things being swept under the rug, you know, with the law around here," Traver Thomas said.
Thomas lives on the street where the shooting happened.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered Thomas and other citizens' concerns are shared by city leaders. In September, the mayor asked the AG to determine if the Ward 2 Marshal was operating appropriately.
The marshal, Floyd Voinche, is elected. Marksville Mayor John Lemoine wrote to Buddy Caldwell's office, asking for an opinion about Voinche writing tickets in the city limits and using an unmarked cruiser to pull people over.
The city asked, "Can someone in an unmarked vehicle issue tickets?"
"We have reason to believe that the Ward 2 Marshal is issuing tickets inside the city limits without consent or approval of the Marksville City Council. ...We are asking if the Ward 2 Marshal has the authority to issue tickets within the city limits without the approval of the Marksville CIty Council?"
The Attorney General confirmed it received the request from the city, but has not rendered an opinion.
Sources said Voinche built a department with part-time officers who work full-time in other departments in the area.
Voinche's office at first only said the shooting was under investigation, but when pressed about the ticket issue promised to release a statement. "The statement will answer all of your questions," an office worker said. The statement has yet to be received.
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