In spring, treasured as a time of hope and renewal, a bloody weekend has brought a sobering reminder that today’s culture of violence can touch any season — and any corner of the community.
In New Orleans, former Saints player Will Smith was shot to death after an apparent fender-bender in the Lower Garden District. Smith’s wife Racquel was also shot but is expected to recover. Cardell Hayes, 28, was arrested in the shootings.
In Baton Rouge, two 19-year-old Southern University students were killed after they were caught in the crossfire between a former Southern football player and another man at an upscale apartment complex near LSU, according to police.
The victims, identified by police as innocent bystanders in the incident, were SU freshman track and field athlete Annette January and sophomore student athletic trainer Lashuntae Benton. Former SU football player Ernest Bernard Felton, 22, was arrested in the shootings, in which 24-year-old Brandon Henderson was injured. Police believe the shooting resulted from an argument between Felton and Henderson.
The weekend shootings attracted attention because high-profile people were involved, but the grim truth is, fatal shootings happen all the time in south Louisiana. We hope that the most recent killings bring some focus to a continuing problem here and across the country: Too many people are turning to guns to settle disputes. We pray for last weekend’s victims — and for the wisdom to deal with this deadly cancer in our social fabric.