Gang activity suspected in Monday violence at Opelousas High

Gang activity suspected in fights

City police and St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested 14 Opelousas High School students Monday after fights broke out across the campus, violent confrontations spurred by gang activity, an Opelousas police captain said.

Capt. Martin McLendon said police sent all available units to the school, on Judson Walsh Drive in Opelousas.

He said the school was kept on lockdown for hours.

Eighteen juveniles, whose names were not released, were taken to the police station for questioning after police quelled the violence.

McLendon said nine students, whose ages were not disclosed, were booked on counts of simple battery, and five face counts of disturbing the peace by fighting. He said the remainder were let go because of insufficient evidence.

He said teachers worked to break up the fights, which began before classes started at 8 a.m.

McLendon said police are looking at social media sites and have noted three gangs at work.

“We have identified known gang members who tried to give themselves a name,” McLendon said, and added that some of the students on the social media sites labeled themselves as gang members.

McLendon said Monday’s disturbances started away from the high school, which has more than 600 students.

He said police are continuing their investigation.