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Raceland man arrested in shooting deaths of 2 women during party

Investigators say Richard allegedly hit a man in the head with a glass bottle during a fight, then opened fire in the crowd.

RACELAND, La. — Deputies have arrested a 28-year-old Raceland man who allegedly shot into a crowded party over the weekend and killed two women, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office says. 

28-year-old Cordale Richard faces two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of 21-year-old Aliza Gabriel and 20-year-old Tanasa Francis on June 14. The women were cousins.

According to LPSO officials, the pair were at a large party on St. Louis Street in Raceland when a fight broke out in the crowd just after midnight. The fight escalated and shots were fired shortly after deputies arrived. Gabriel and Francis, both innocent bystanders, were pronounced dead on the scene. 

The LPSO opened an investigation and learned that Richard allegedly hit a man in the head with a glass bottle during the fight, then opened fire in the crowd. 

On Wednesday, detectives found and arrested Richard at his home on St. Louis Street. He was taken into custody without incident, where he is being held without bail. 

In addition to the murder charges, he also faces aggravated battery and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  

LPSO officials said the investigation is ongoing. 

Gabriel and Francis' grandmother, Geneva Toussaint, spoke to WWL-TV about the death of her granddaugthers. 

“I have lost so many people in my family, and now they took my granddaughters,” said Toussaint. 

RELATED: Two bystanders killed in Lafourche Parish when fistfight turned to gunfight

The family says the women were hardworking. Gabriel wanted to be a flight attendant and Francis was working two jobs to support herself.  

Their aunt, Trina Gabriel, said she is in shock.  

“Innocent bystanders, we’ll never see those girls again, we’ll never see these girls again,” said Gabriel.    

The girls' aunt had said she was calling on the community to help find the person responsible for killing her nieces. 

“The beef between the different hoods, it’s ridiculous. I’m talking about my community.  It’s time we come together as one,” said Gabriel.

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