LAFAYETTE— Lafayette’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of nonviolence ended Monday with the shooting death of a Lafayette man about 60 yards from the recreation center named in the civil rights leader’s honor.
Jordan Melancon, 20, grew up in the neighborhood adjacent to the King Center and was near his grandmother’s house in the 400 block of Hilda Street around 7:15 p.m. Monday when, Lafayette police say, he was fatally shot by Jacob Ardoin.
Ardoin, 21, of the 1100 block of Collins Street, Carencro, was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a count of second-degree murder.
It’s unclear whether the two men knew each other, Lafayette Police Cpl. Paul Mouton said.
Mouton said a large crowd had gathered in the neighborhood.
Police officers were already in the neighborhood working the Martin Luther King holiday activities at the King Center, just about 60 yards away, when officers were called to respond to a disturbance on Hilda Street, Mouton said.
“As they moved into the crowd, they heard the gunshot,” Mouton said.
Officers found Melancon collapsed in front of a home with a single gunshot wound and he was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries, Mouton said.
The large crowd gathered in the neighborhood was unrelated to the King Center activities, he said.
Ashley Bonner, who grew up with Melancon and lives on Hilda Street across from Melancon’s grandmother, said Melancon wasn’t part of the crowd that moved from Paul Breaux Street on to Hilda Street.
“We were at my house,” Bonner said. “He didn’t know he was shot, at first. He fell into my little sister’s hands,” Bonner said.
Melancon walked about two houses down from his grandmother’s home before collapsing in front of Emma Faulk’s house on Hilda Street.
A row of candles and stuffed teddy bears sit on the sidewalk outside of Faulk’s house. The items were placed their Monday evening during an impromptu memorial by those mourning the man’s death, she said.
“It was a sad thing to see,” Faulk said. “I know there’s violence everywhere, but this? This? For what? You have parents who lost one son and parents of the (man) who did it, who lost their son, too.”
King’s message seems to be lost on today’s generation, Faulk said.
“I want them to understand it’s not about fighting or getting revenge. It’s about respecting the rights of man and civil rights,” she said.
“It’s a hurt for all of us on Hilda Street,” Faulk said. “My prayers go out to the Melancon family.”
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