“Today, we are also declaring our community’s independence from crime. You’ve been brought in, you’ve been warned, and the choice is up to you.” Sid Gautreaux, East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff
The Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Project recently completed its first official gang crackdown by arresting nine suspected associates of The Block Boyz, one of about 30 active local street gangs, BRAVE officials said Thursday.
Among those arrested was Trevor Georgetown, 18, a known Block Boyz member, who is accused of first-degree murder in the June 6 shooting death of an 18-year-old Honduran man, Franklin “Franco” Ely Lara-Solis.
“We’re coming after your people and your fellow gang members, your boys,” East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Thursday alongside Baton Rouge Provisional Police Chief Carl Dabadie and District Attorney Hillar Moore III.
Back in April, Georgetown and about 40 other known gang members were called in to a meeting with BRAVE leaders.
They were given three options: Participate in treatment and other programs offered through BRAVE; give up on their criminal ways without BRAVE’s help or continue to commit criminal acts and be punished accordingly.
Gautreaux noted Georgetown was already in East Baton Rouge Prison on burglary charges when he was arrested in the slaying of Lara-Solis — a killing Georgetown bragged about, going so far as to show the murder weapon to witnesses.
“Georgetown was warned,” Gautreaux said. “For those that choose to continue in a life in crime, it’s time for the consequences.”
The sheriff issued a stern warning to other young men and boys who were invited to the April call-in.
“Today is July the 4th, it’s our nation’s Independence Day,” Gautreaux said. “Today, we are also declaring our community’s independence from crime. You’ve been brought in, you’ve been warned, and the choice is up to you. We’re committed, we’re serious. You make the wrong choice, and we’re coming after you.”
Gautreaux praised the community for the success of the BRAVE Project, adding that it would not be nearly as successful if not for regular citizens opening up to law enforcement agencies with valuable information.
Although the parish has experienced sharply lower murder rates so far in 2013, officials agreed that neither BRAVE alone, nor a significantly increased law enforcement presence, would eliminate Baton Rouge’s stubborn crime problems.
“We have a long way to go,” Dabadie said, adding, “We’re not claiming that this is a victory at this point. But, it is encouraging, and we’re going to continue to keep moving forward.”
Moore pointed out that BRAVE was not initiated to stop every murder in Baton Rouge, but rather to combat group-related crime, specifically in the historically crime-ridden 70805 ZIP code, which is generally bordered by Airline Highway to the north and east, Choctaw Drive to the south and the Mississippi River to the west.
However, officials added that BRAVE initiatives are not limited the 70805 ZIP code, pointing to Georgetown’s case as one particular example, because it occurred in the Gardere area.
The eight other people arrested in the BRAVE roundup were:
- Antoine Fisher, 29, 1612 Cedar Lake Drive, Apt. B, Baton Rouge, no driver’s license.
- Brandon Rome, 25, 8024 Skysail Ave. Baton Rouge, fugitive for Baton Rouge City Court.
- Nicholas Deandre, 20, 1312 Jasper Ave., Baton Rouge, distribution of Schedule 1 drugs.
- Joshua Bess, 22, 8721 Skysail Ave., Apt. C, Baton Rouge, disturbing the peace, improper telephone communications and simple assault
- Brian Keith Sheppard, 19, 9048 GSRI Ave., Apt. 4, Baton Rouge, simple burglary.
- Eric Sheppard, 17, 9048 GSRI Ave., Apt. 4, Baton Rouge, simple burglary.
- Johron Segura, 19, 2018 General Adams Ave., Baton Rouge, simple burglary and inhabited dwelling.
- Donnar Lee Willis, 20, 9217 Old Hermitage Parkway, possession of marijuana.