The Coleman family was on its way home from a late-night shopping trip Saturday, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said, when they passed a dark-colored car in a wooded stretch of Prescott Road near Joor Road. The parents heard a pop and initially thought a tire had blown out.
But they soon realized their youngest child — 7-year-old Terrez Coleman — had been shot, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The family sped to the 6th District fire station at the corner of Prescott and Lanier Drive and banged on the door for help, Fire Chief Joel Hancock said. The two firefighters working the night shift — it was around 11:15 p.m. — grabbed some first aid items and ran outside to the car.
As firefighters tried to revive Terrez, his father, Terry Coleman, noticed one of Terrez’s older sisters was grazed by a bullet, Hancock said. Firefighters administered first aid to her after realizing they could not revive the vivacious, outspoken Terrez.
The 8900 block of Prescott Road where Terrez was shot is in the middle of an eight-tenths of a mile stretch from Joor Road to just before Dickens Lane that is devoid of houses and has woods on both sides with street lights lining the eastbound lane.
Skip Mitchell, 46, lives near that wooded area and said he’s been hearing gunshots more frequently near his house in the past two years.
“It’s getting more and more outrageous around here,” Mitchell said. “At nighttime, any time after 10 p.m., you sit still and you’ll hear gunshots.”
However, he added he normally does not hear shots coming from the woods, where he and others go bow hunting for deer.
Mitchell said his watch dog, a mixed-breed dog named Hercules, started barking at about 12:30 a.m. as sheriff’s deputies drove in front of the house toward the wooded area where the shooting occurred.
Mitchell counted at least a dozen Sheriff’s Office patrol cars in the area, with deputies searching the ground for evidence.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said his office has two priorities in this case: finding the shooter or shooters and giving the family whatever resources they need to get through the difficult time.
The Sheriff’s Office chaplain and the crime victims assistance coordinator met with the family Saturday night, he said.
“As a community, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to stop something like this from ever occurring again,” Gautreaux said in a statement.
Attempts to reach Terrez’s parents were unsuccessful. Other family members said Sunday afternoon they would not comment on the shooting.
The young boy’s death stunned neighbors who describe him as an energetic, happy child.
“He was always getting into something,” said Nemiah Johnson, 38. “He wasn’t scared.”
Johnson said Terrez was often playing outside and the two would play catch from time to time. Johnson added Terrez was very outspoken, much more than a typical 7-year-old.
“I know they’re going to take that hard,” Johnson said of Terrez’s death.
Terry Parker, 55, lives across the street from the Colemans and was shocked to hear about Terrez’s death. Parker said the Colemans have lived near him for about 10 years and he’s watched Terrez and his two older sisters grow up from birth.
He said the family did everything and that Terrez and his sisters would ride their bikes up and down the street while their parents watched from the front porch.
Hicks, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said the investigation is ongoing.
The Sheriff’s Office has not released further details about the case, such as how many shots were fired, where they were fired from and the caliber of the bullet or bullets.
“This is a tragedy not only for this family but also for our community,” Hicks said. “We are hoping that someone out there that knows something will come forward with that information.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000. Crime Stoppers also is offering a cash reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at (225) 344- STOP or (225) 344-7867.