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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Only 3 deputies assigned to work security at event where gunfire broke out, killing teen

2 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago Monday, December 04 2023 Dec 4, 2023 December 04, 2023 1:07 PM December 04, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

PORT HUDSON - Though 10 deputies were originally requested to provide security at a concert and ATV trail ride in Port Hudson over the weekend, the organizer scaled back that request and only three deputies were brought in to work it.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit has learned that the individual putting together Saturday night's event "downsized" plans due to the rainy weather, and considered postponing it entirely.

The revision calling for fewer deputies was submitted to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office on Nov. 30, two days before the gathering that ended with gunshots and the death of a 16-year-old Zachary High School student.

The organizer expected about 100 people to turn out in the damp conditions. Instead, at least 1,000 attended, according to preliminary reports.

District Attorney Hillar Moore was on scene Saturday night.

"It was extremely crowded," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "Me just personally waiting, couldn't even get to the scene because of the number of cars and trucks exiting so the sheriff could do their job. The search for other people dead or injured and do a crime scene. This was a very large crime scene."

The few deputies on scene early in the evening reportedly expressed concern as the number of people grew past estimates.

About 7:30 p.m., the organizer made an announcement directing the crowd to leave the property -- a wooded area by West Port Hudson Plains Road, outside the Zachary city limits.

A witness told WBRZ that she called authorities about that same time to report that the event was getting out of hand.

The organizer and deputies were in the process of moving vehicles that were blocking the roadway when shots were fired, about 8:30 p.m.

La'Taurus Smith, 16, was struck and killed. Two other people were wounded by gunfire but survived, and several more were hurt during the chaos that followed the shooting.

Investigators said Lamar Hall, 32, confessed to the shooting in an interview. He was booked on principal to first-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.

Hall allegedly told detectives he fired because there was "a large shoot-out" already taking place.

Documents allege he shot into a large crowd.

He made his first appearance in court on Monday and remained in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison with no bond set.

Hall has a lengthy arrest record on counts including weapons crimes, domestic violence and theft.

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