Locals gather to pray for the family of a Louisiana National Guardsman found in the Red River. The body of Desmond Desdunes, 22, of Shreveport, was found by boaters around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Desdunes was missing for two days, after he jumped off a bridge into the river.
He was loved by many in the local Christian Methodist Episcopal Church community. About 50 members gathered for a prayer vigil Sunday evening.
“It’s been devastating. We didn’t want to accept it until we got the final word,” said Linda Broussard. She oversees the youth ministry at St. Luke CME Church, where Desdunes attended as a young adult.
He was currently a minister at Miles Johnson CME Church.
“I regret the fact that he did not get a chance to reach his full potential as a young minister,” said Gregory Hudson, Pastor of St. Luke CME Church.
“I think he accepted the call to ministry about two years ago and he’s preached all around this district from Benton to Logansport to the Cooper Road,” said Samuel Bailey, President of the Shreveport Young Adult Ministry. Desdunes was chaplain of the organization.
Desdunes' life changed course Jun. 5 when he jumped into the Red River with his fellow National Guardsman Joshua Miller. Authorities said Desdunes panicked while swimming to shore.
“They both started getting pulled under water because Desmond was panicking,” said Sgt. Alan Davidson, with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. “Josh Miller got a little disoriented. He got on the bank and heard Desmond hollering. He looked back and Desmond already had gone under water.”
Friends said they'll always remember his quirky personality.
“Despite the circumstances of his death, we love Desmond and we know he was having fun to the very last breath,” said Bailey.
His funeral will be held at St. Luke CME Church at 11 a.m. Friday, June 13. The church is located at 2110 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, in Shreveport.