Although it’s less than an hour’s drive from Baton Rouge, the Avondale Scout Reservation in Clinton can seem a world away from the cares of the city and, indeed, the worries of the rest of the planet. Its more than 1,600 acres of forest, fields, trails and wildlife have been a treasured retreat for generations of Scout campers and their families. The campground is at its best right now, in autumn, when cool nights around the campfire create fellowship and memories that can last a lifetime.
But maybe it’s a measure of the days in which we now live that even a refuge from worry like Avondale has now been touched by the grim violence that violates our sense of well-being on a seemingly daily basis.
Almost a month after Buck Hornsby was hit by dozens of shotgun pellets as he exercised out b…
On Monday, Brad DeFranceschi, a 48-year-old camp ranger at Avondale, was shot to death outside his home. He’s one of several residents within a few miles of each other who have recently been shot under mysterious circumstances. On Wednesday, authorities arrested 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe of Clinton in connection with the crimes.
On July 8, 62-year-old Thomas Bass was killed outside his home on La. 960, not far from where DeFranceschi died. On Sept. 12, 47-year-old Buck Hornsby was shot and injured while exercising outside his home, which is also on La. 63. On Sept. 19, 66-year-old Carroll Breeden was killed while spraying weeds in his front yard on Pride-Port Hudson Road.
We’re glad that law enforcement agencies across the area have been working together to investigate the shootings. The sheriffs of West Feliciana, East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes held a joint news conference earlier this week to discuss their collaboration.
That kind of teamwork also paid off last month when Baton Rouge authorities arrested 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason for three shootings, two of them fatal. Gleason is accused of killing two men, Bruce Cofield and Donald Smart, in separate incidents.
The arrest of one multiple shooting suspect in Louisiana this year is sobering enough; the possibility of yet another such shooter is difficult to fathom.
Baton Rouge-area law enforcement are investigating a shooting Monday that killed a camp rang…
This has been a bloody autumn across America, with a mass shooting in Las Vegas that defies belief. That violence has now reached the gates of Avondale Scout Reservation, a place meant to affirm the bonds of community.
Those bonds, now under threat, are the only thing that will save us from the terror of our times.