CALCASIEU PARISH, La. — Four girls are accused of stealing knives from a Walmart and using them in a lethal attack shown on social media from inside the store, a Louisiana sheriff said.
“The whole murder played out there,” on social media, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said at a news conference Sunday. He said the videos, photos and posts were “very disturbing," KATC-TV reported.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Kayla Vincent would not comment about whether bystanders, one or more of the girls, or both sent items to social media.
“Because the videos contain juveniles we are not going comment on how the videos got on social media or who or how many girls were in the videos,” she said in an email Monday.
A 13-year-old was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder and three other girls, aged 12, 13 and 14, were arrested on charges of being principals to second-degree murder, she said.
A 15-year-old girl died after the fight that broke out in the store Saturday. Vincent said investigators believe the argument may have started at a nearby movie theater.
Mancuso said it was the parish's third killing in six months involving children, news outlets reported.
“They come from all backgrounds, all races; this is just a problem we are having with children having access to weapons, or stealing weapons," Mancuso said.
An 11-year-old boy was arrested in September, accused of shooting and killing a 39-year-old relative in Moss Bluff and two boys, aged 12 and 16, were arrested in July in a fatal shooting in Lake Charles, according to news releases at the time. All three were arrested on charges of second-degree murder.
“It’s just heartbreaking when we have to come in and pick up the pieces because so many families are damaged,” Mancuso said. "This is a cycle that we have to stop, and we’re just fed up with it.”
Mancuso said all law enforcement in the parish would immediately and aggressively enforce state and local curfews for anyone under age 17 — 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.
But the sheriff cautioned that policing is only part of the solution.
“This is not something we can police our way out of. I just don’t feel like this is a police matter. This is a parenting issue. People need to know where their kids are. They need to know what’s going on in their lives," he said.
Parents also need to limit their children's phones and keep an eye on what they're posting on social media, he said.
“It shouldn’t be tolerated by any of us, whether you’re the parents or a bystander. There’s people who saw this on social media or saw this coming and didn’t say a word,” The American Press reported he said.
And, he told parents who aren't tech-savvy, “You better learn. You better figure out how to do it.”
Sheriff's deputies will also meet with store managers and owners to be sure they know their rights with loitering juveniles, the sheriff said.
“We’re asking everybody to step up and get involved. All of us: parent, grandparent, store owners. We can’t let this happen, because it’s going to get worse and it’s going to get completely out of control,” he said. “We as a society cannot tolerate this behavior. We cannot sit back and let this happen.”