HAMMOND, La. — Teenagers came to a Hammond high school party "armed to the teeth" the night a 16-year-old was killed, according to Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Jimmy Travis.
Travis says the victim, 16-year-old Leonard Williams, was an innocent bystander and trying to escape the shootout when he was shot and killed Saturday night.
According to Travis, the violence stemmed from a 17-year-old who came to the party after seeing his girlfriend dancing there on Facebook Live. Police say the 17-year-old physically assaulted the teen girl in front of the house.
That's when 18-year-old Jaylen Williams, Leonard's cousin, confronted the 17-year-old and the 17-year-old got in his car and left.
Chief Travis said the 17-year-old came back and with a 9mm handgun and started shooting at another car with Leonard and Jaylen Williams in it as he drove by.
Leonard Williams got out of the car and started to run away, according to Travis. The police chief believes he was killed by a stray bullet while the two cars full of teenagers shot at each other.
One of the guns they were using was a high-powered rifle, according to Travis. The bullets from that gun actually penetrated brick walls of nearby buildings.
"That’s how it is on the streets. It’s a gun game," he said. "It’s whose got the most guns, whose got the biggest guns, biggest magazines? Who’s willing to pull the trigger?”
The investigation is now focused on how the shooters obtained these guns.
"We want to find out who provided the weapons to these juveniles," Travis said. "We should actively seek out, not just investigate this murder, but let’s take the next step forward. Where did they get the gun? How did they get the gun?"
Police have made seven arrests in this case so far.
- Jaylan Williams, 18, for obstruction of justice, second-degree murder and three counts of contributing to delinquency of a juvenile.
- Ella Bickham, 64, for obstruction of justice.
- Corey Williams, 18, for starting an altercation with deputies as they processed the crime scene.
- Two unidentified 17-year-olds for obstruction of justice, second-degree murder, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and illegal use of weapons.
- An unidentified 16-year-old for obstruction of justice, second-degree murder, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and illegal use of weapons.
- And a 17-year-old for principle to second degree murder.
Chief Travis said one 16-year-old suspect is still at-large.