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Nearby gunfire shuts down Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival early Saturday night

7 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Sunday, April 10 2022 Apr 10, 2022 April 10, 2022 10:18 PM April 10, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

PONCHATOULA - Shots fired near the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival closed out the night early, according to the sheriff's office. 

The Ponchatoula Police Department said the shots were one block south of the fairgrounds around the 200th block of West Hickory Street shortly after 9:30 p.m.

"God was with us last night, because that could have been a mass casualty with that many rounds shot with 100,000 people walking our streets and in our park," Ponchatoula Police Chief Bry Layrisson said. "We're just very blessed."

Authorities say two people began exchanging a series of gunfire, striking the side of a building and a vehicle, including three bullets that hit the side of a police station.

"The building was hit twice and the awning was hit once," Layrisson said. 

Officials found over 12 bullet casings. At least three gunshots struck the Ponchatoula City Police Station, leaving bullet holes in the building's windows.

After closing down early Saturday, the festival went on as planned Sunday and festival chairman Jeff Wight said the violence did not dissuade people from coming out and enjoying the strawberries. 

"It had no impact today," Wight said. "As you can see, we're just as full as we were yesterday... It's just like record-breaking crowds, record-breaking sales."

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