The knock on the door of Marguerite Cooper’s Hillcrest subdivision home in Marrero early Tuesday morning was the last thing she wanted to have to deal with on the day before Christmas.
A Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy let her know that her Toyota SUV was one of dozens of vehicles on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish whose rear windshields had been shattered by gunfire sometime overnight.
By early Tuesday afternoon the total number of shattered windows that deputies were investigating had grown to 166, said Col. John Fortunato, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
While most of the shattered windows were rear windshields, some vehicles also had their side windows shot out.
Investigators did not immediately have any suspects, but the motive appeared to be reckless vandalism, since pellets were found near some vehicles, Fortunato said.
“What this appears to be is some group of individuals who thought it was a wonderful thing to do,” he said. “It’s not funny at all.”
Calls about the shattered windows began to come in between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., as people began getting up for the day. Most of the damage was in the Hillcrest, Oak Knoll and Oak Forest subdivisions, Fortunato said.
Mary Dearmas, co-owner of Eagle Auto Glass in Harvey, said calls to her business were almost nonstop on Tuesday. On the day before Christmas, however, she had scheduled shorter hours and fewer staff members, meaning less chance that everyone would get their glass replaced immediately.
Marguerite Cooper knew what she meant.
“I called one place that said, ‘Ma’am, it’s Christmas Eve. We’re about to close,’ ” she said. “There was nothing I could do but cry and say, ‘Merry Christmas, Marguerite.’ ”
Investigators are asking anyone who has surveillance cameras in neighborhoods where damage was reported to review the video from overnight. Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call 911.
Johnie Cooper said cameras will soon go up at his home, in case anyone targets his property again.
“They will go up after the first of the year,” he said.
“These things aren’t cheap,” he added of the rear windshield he has to replace on his SUV.