Gunfire causes $10,000 damage to Livingston engineering firm

Investigators asked for help Wednesday in finding the person who fired seven large-caliber bullets into the office of an engineering firm that has been in the middle of a Livingston Parish political battle.

No motive has been determined in the case, a spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

The president of McLin & Associates Inc. said he thinks the shots were fired by vandals and not people with a political animosity toward the company.

Lester McLin said his concern is that someone in his office could have been hurt.

Nobody was present at the time, but the lights were on and employees usually park in the back of the building where their cars wouldn’t have been visible to the shooter, McLin said.

“We do have employees who work at night,” he said. “It scared me somebody could have been in here.”

In addition to other lights, a woman who cleaned the building after normal business hours apparently left a chandelier lit, said McLin, who added he believes that was the target.

Last year, five bullets were fired through the windshield of a recreational vehicle parked in the company’s lot, McLin said.

The latest shooting — believed to have occurred late Saturday night into early Sunday morning — caused about $10,000 in damage, said Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Bullets hit the chandelier, the walls and the front glass in the reception area of the building at 28339 S. Frost Road, Livingston, Steele said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office issued a release asking anyone with information about the shooting, which was reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 686-2241 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP.

McLin & Associates and Alvin Fairburn & Associates filed suit against the Livingston Parish Council in April alleging that the council voted to terminate the companies’ contract for road engineering work without proper cause.

The companies also have been at odds with some members of the council over payment of a $453,000 bill for road planning performed for the previous council, which left office in January 2012.

The previous council ordered then-Parish President Mike Grimmer to pay the bill, but Grimmer refused, saying he hadn’t given written authorization for the engineering work. A 21st Judicial District Court judge subsequently ordered Grimmer to pay the bill, but Grimmer appealed and had received no further ruling before he left office.

Upon taking office, Parish President Layton Ricks, who had previously worked for Fairburn, paid the bill, setting off a running battle between Ricks and some members of the council.