HAMMOND, La. — Tangipahoa Parish Investigators say a home invasion with a motive or robbery is what left a Hammond father dead and his young daughter in the hospital.
After a frantic knock on his door early Tuesday morning, Joseph Morallo rushed over to his friend’s house.
“There was just police everywhere, crime tape from the front of the street to that telephone pole,” said Morallo.
A couple hours before he got there, his friend Donte Perry, 33, and Perry’s 12-year-old daughter had both been shot. Perry died.
“He’d do anything for his kids, his family. It’s kind of hard and devastating,” said Morallo.
It happened inside apartment 255 on Rufus Bankston Road late Monday night, when Chief Jimmy Travis says three or four masked gunmen forced their way inside.
“A neighbor witnessed this and was on the phone with 911,” said Chief Jimmy Travis with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. “While the neighbor was on the phone with 911 you could hear shots ringing out in the background. The 911 call taker could hear.”
Travis says the suspects demanded drugs and money, then shot Perry multiple times before shooting his 12-year-old daughter as they were leaving. Perry’s two other kids, a seven-year-old and a three-year-old were unharmed.
“We feel like the sole purpose of them shooting the 12-year-old was to actually murder the 12-year-old because possibly, the threat of the 12-year-old being a witness or being able to identify them or provide information,” said Travis.
Travis says the girl was taken to Children’s Hospital and has at least 10 gunshot wounds. He wasn’t sure whether they were both entry and exit wounds.
“He never bothered nobody. He stayed playing with his kids, enjoyed spending time with them,” said Perry’s cousin, Kiera Perry. “We’re just trying to hold up the best we can right now.”
Perry says family and friends are now rallying around the kids, while remembering the man they know as a jokester who had a love for tattoo artistry and showing off his talents.
“He’s a singer, rapper, dancer, great person,” said Morallo. “I just can’t understand how you would target a man like this and then try to hurt the babies as well, it’s crazy, just have no heart.”
As of this Tuesday evening the 12-year-old girl is in stable condition at Children’s Hospital. Authorities are now pleading with the community for someone to come forward to them track down who’s responsible. You can remain anonymous by calling crime stoppers at 1-800-554-5245.