Alleged gang suspect arrested

Gerald Luke
Gerald Luke

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies on Saturday arrested an 18-year-old man — a known Block Boyz gang associate — accused of intimidating a witness involved in the investigation of a June 6 homicide in the Gardere area.

The arrest comes two days after Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Project leaders announced the “crackdown” arrest of nine suspected Block Boyz gang associates, including 18-year-old Trevor Georgetown, who is accused of first-degree murder in the June 6 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Franklin “Franco” Lara-Solis, of Honduras.

James Miskell, 18, of 8023 Skysail Ave., was booked Saturday into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of intimidation of a witness, simple battery and aggravated assault, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

Detectives were still looking for 17-year-old Gerald Luke, of 8032 Skysail Ave., who is accused of the same criminal counts as Miskell, Hicks said.

Both Miskell and Luke are known associates of the Block Boyz gang, Hicks said.

Anyone with information concerning Luke’s whereabouts is asked to contact the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office at 225-389-5000.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Thursday that one of the most important — and successful — aspects of BRAVE has been the increased communication between crime-ridden communities and law enforcement.

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux went even further, saying Thursday that hundreds of additional deputies or police officers could not make arrests in most of these cases without the help of local residents.

“You don’t go out and clear these cases without getting information,” Gautreaux said, adding, “Until the people have a confidence in what we’re doing, they really don’t come forward. We are seeing more and more of the public stand up and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do our part, you’re doing yours, I’ve got to make my community a better place to live.’ And that’s the bottom line to it.”

Since the BRAVE initiative began in June 2012, East Baton Rouge Parish has seen a significant drop in killings, according to data compiled by The Advocate.

While BRAVE began as a $1.5 million grant-funded program to fight group-related crime in the historically crime-ridden 70805 ZIP code, it has since expanded to cover other crime “hot spots” around the parish, such as Gardere, officials said.