Beyond the Protests: Taking it to the streets to stop the killing

Beyond the Protests

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – With the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old transgender woman on Wednesday, Shreveport has logged its 55th homicide of 2020.

So far, there have been no arrests in the murder of Brooklyn DeShauna Smith but investigators are working to determine if gender identification was a factor in her death. It is the fourth homicide in the city since early Tuesday morning when three men found were shot to death outside an abandoned home in Allendale.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” said retired Shreveport Police Detective Rod Demery. He is not involved in any of these recent investigations, but he recalls far too often arriving at crime scenes in Shreveport in his years at SPD.

“That was probably the most difficult part about the job. Being to a point it became the norm and desensitized by it, but noticing the emotions. It’s an overwhelming thing.”

The tragedies hit close to home for Demery, with 92% of Shreveport’s homicide victims this year being African-American.

“That is another one of the problems with homicide, it seems to be overwhelmingly Black. Being a Black man there’s a kinship regardless. It’s somebody that looks exactly like you or your children,” added Demery.

He has also witnessed firsthand the long-term effects for the families of the victims along with the suspects.

“It almost seems as if the tragedy is multiple lives. You have young black men or young black women lost a life and then you have another black life that’s loss to the penal system, probably forever.”

Demery says compassion is needed in these situations, along with innovative solutions and that’s what Pastor Donzell Hughes is working to provide.

“We’re going to continue just going into the streets. Going into the neighborhoods. Go where the people are.”

Hughes has been working for years with the Please Stop the Killing initiative in Shreveport. They’ve focused their efforts on the Mooretown and Cedar Grove neighborhoods.

“We have to get more people involved. More community people. Our pastors and leaders to come on out and be with us.”

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