Cenla law enforcement officers participate in annual torch run

By Sherri L. Jackson

More than 100 law enforcement officers participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run through the Alexandria /Pineville area Wednesday in an  effort to get the torch to the Louisiana  Special Olympics held in Hammond.

The state summer games will be May 21-23. Rapides Parish Sheriff Charles Wagner is expected to carry the torch inside of Strawberry Stadium on the grounds of Southeastern Louisiana University.

Wagner participated in Wednesday’s event.

Detective Ricky Ouber of the RPSO coordinated the event.  Officers from Alexandria, Boyce, Leesville, Fort Polk Military Police, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State Police and other agencies participated in the event.

Kathy Smith with the Louisiana Probation and Parole received the annual award for her contributions to the event. Smith is the Central Louisiana coordinator.

Ouber said runners will leave with the torch at 7 a.m. Thursday headed towards Hammond by way of Marksville, Bunkie. They will join up with other law enforcement officers in Krotz Springs and continue the journey.

The Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kan., Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. Today, hundreds of citizens in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries can witness the Olympic Torch being carried by dedicated members of law enforcement through their communities on its journey to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Games, according to the Louisiana Special Olympics Web site.

Pineville homicide victim called joyful person, proud grandmother

By Bill Sumrall

PINEVILLE — The peace of a racially diverse neighborhood here was shattered by a drive-by shooting Tuesday night that left a mother and grandmother dead.

Annette Harris, 36, of 531 Lakeview St., was fatally wounded in the head late Tuesday night, May 11, making her Pineville’s first homicide victim since 1999.

Police arrested Jeremy Carlton Kirk Sr., 17, of 110 Nora St. Pineville. He was charged with first-degree murder and resisting an officer. A 16-year-old juvenile was also arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.

Demarcus Kieel, 19, who said he’d been the dead woman’s fiance also living at 531 Lakeview, talked with EverythingCenla outside the house Thursday, May 13.

“She liked making people happy, liked making them laugh,” Kieel said. “She was a joyful person.”

Kieel said he and Harris had been together for a year and two months but wished she hadn’t died.

“I wish that it wouldn’t, just really, just happen like this but it happened like this, so I’ve got to accept it, and I love her from the bottom of my heart,” Kieel said.

“I’m going to always love her. She’s going to always have a spot in my heart regardless, no matter what, what,” Kieel said, stumbling over some of his words slightly as he continued, “what I go through, at all times.”

Kieel said Harris was a Pineville native who had a 12-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter who live in Arkansas and whom he was still trying to notify about their mother’s death.

Harris also had a grandchild who she was “very much excited” about caring for, Kieel said.

“She took care of that baby every single day. Every time she went to sleep, she’d wake up, feeding the baby, changing the baby and everything, just like a grandmother’s supposed to do,” Kieel said.

“Wherever she basically went, she really just took the baby with her and stuff. She wanted to see the baby grow up, and, you know what I’m saying, be there for the baby and help her daughter with her child and stuff like that,” Kieel said.

Kieel said Harris worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA, worked at Crossroads a couple of months and talked about returning to school to become a Registered Nurse or RN.

“But …,” Kieel said, his voice trailing off.

Harris liked having fun with her kids, taking them places and doing things as a family and also “she liked partying, liked listening to music, liked watching movies and stuff,” Kieel said.

Funeral arrangements are still in the process of being arranged, Kieel said.

Kieel added that a previously published report was incorrect about the unnamed 16-year-old juvenile arrested by police and charged in connection with the shooting.

“They have the wrong suspect. They have one person that wasn’t involved in the situation,” Kieel said, referring to the unnamed 16-year-old juvenile.

“That’s one of my friends, one of my close, close friends …,” Kieel said, pausing as two women standing nearby who had been helping Kieel with cleaning the house indicated caution to Kieel about naming the juvenile.

“He was not one of the ones that was in the car and was not one of the ones that was shooting at all. The only one I know that was shooting was Jeremy Kirk,” Kieel said, who added he intends to let police know about this.

Outside the house Thursday too was Charles McCawley, who said he was previously misidentified in published reports as the landlord but only manages the property for relatives and does not own it.

“As far as I know, she (Harris) was a good person, she was friendly, she just had her first grand-baby,” McCawley said.

“She was very proud of her little grandbaby and all that, and we’ve never had no trouble out of her or her husband or her two kids or anything,” McCawley said.

McCawley clarified he was referring to Kieel as husband to Harris.

“She was just an easy-going person, you know, and very proud of that first grandbaby of hers,” McCawley said.

McCawley said the neighborhood is racially diverse, with residents who are black, white, Cambodian, Hispanic and Vietnamese.

“Usually everybody gets along fine,” McCawley said.

The shooting “shocked so many people because this is a very nice neighborhood,” McCawley added.
Veronica Hawkins, 49, standing in the doorway of 533 Lakeview Street, agreed.
“It just really shocked me — I walk up and down here all the time,” said Hawkins, who lives in the house next door to where Harris resided.

Hawkins said she moved here from Michigan, and that her husband called 911 when he heard the shot. She described the neighborhood as racially diverse and peaceful, but had not lived there long enough to know Harris.

“I did not know her personally,” Veronica Hawkins said, but noted she saw people walking all the time on Lakeview to exercise, go to the store or ride bicycles.

Hawkins added she thought there were legal ways of settling an alleged dispute about a vehicle which she’d learned reportedly triggered the drive-by shooting.

In her opinion, the 17-year-old accused in the shooting “just threw away his life,” Hawkins said.

Pineville woman shot dead, two arrested

A 17-year-old Pineville man is in the Rapides Parish Detention Center and a 16-year-old is in the Renaissance Home for Youth in Alexandria in connection with the Tuesday night shooting death of Annette Harris, 36, of Pineville, according to the Pineville Police Department.

Jeremy Kirk, 17, has been charged with first-degree murder and resisting an officer. The juvenile has been charged with accessory after the rfact to first-degree murder.

The shooting occurred about 11:23 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 at 531 Lakeview St. Officers with the Pineville Police Department arrived at the home and found Harris inside of the home. She was taken to Huey P. Long Medical Center and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Witnesses at the scene told investigators that a vehicle, driven by Kirk, stopped in front of the Lakeview Street home and Kirk allegedly fired one shot at the residence. Kirk and the juvenile, who was in the vehicle, left the scene.

Investigators indicate the shooting may have been the result of an ongoing argument that began earlier in the day between the two separate parties.

Kirk and the juvenile were arrested at separate locations in Pineville without any problems.

Annual memorial for law enforcement officers set for Friday, May 14

The 13th Annual Rapides Parish Law Enforcement Memorial will be at 10 a.m. Friday, May 14, on the front steps of the Rapides Parish Courthouse.

The annual ceremony honors law enforcement officers from Rapides Parish, or who have a close connection with the parish, who have been killed in the line of duty.

This year’s memorial will honor 25 men from 10 different agencies. The ceremony will include “Taps,” a 21-gun salute, roll call of fallen officers, the bell toll and a flag presentation.

Family and friends of the fallen officers, along with the public, is encouraged to attend the free ceremony.

Alexandria man accused of raping an 82-year-old Pineville woman

On January 7, 2010 the Pineville Police Department arrested Gregory Shane Erwin 37 years old of 5000 Jackson Street Apartment #5038 of Alexandria. Erwin was arrested for one count of aggravated rape. The charge stems from an investigation that has been ongoing for the past week.

On December 30, 2009 it was reported to the Pineville Police Department of a rape that occurred at a Pineville residence. The victim, an 82 year old woman, was living with her granddaughter at the residence in Pineville, where she has lived for the past several months.

The victim is bed ridden and her granddaughter was taking care of the victim after a recent illness. Because of the victim’s illness she was visited by medical personnel several times a week. During one of the visits medical personnel saw what they believed to be evidence of possible physical abuse. The victim was transported to a local hospital for examination.

While receiving treatment at the hospital she was able to tell investigators that Erwin allegedly rape her at the residence in Pineville.

After statements and medical test results an arrest warrant was obtained for Erwin. He was located in Alexandria late last night. With the assistance of the United States Marshalls Office and the Alexandria Police Department Erwin was taken into custody. He is presently confined in the Rapides Parish Detention facility on a bond of $150,000.