ST BERNARD, La. — You wouldn’t think that last week’s arrest of a Violet woman for attempted murder in a stabbing at an elementary school gym in lower St. Bernard Parish would sound alarms in the parish president’s office, but that’s exactly what happened.
“I am as responsible as anyone else when it comes to these kinds of things happening,” Parish President Guy McInnis said.
Trebrekiante Wickem, 27, was booked on May 15 with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery after a party ended in a knife fight in which three people were injured and ended up in two local hospitals. All three victims are recovering.
According to a police report, the May 7 party was being held inside the gymnasium at Joe Davies Elementary School in Meraux when violence broke out just after 1 a.m.
That’s where parish government comes in.
In an exclusive interview with WWL-TV, McInnis explained that while the gym is on school grounds, it’s owned by the parish. The parish, in turn, allows its booster clubs to use the space outside of school hours.
While the clubs use the gym primarily for youth sports, they also rent out the venue for other money-making events. McInnis said the adult party at the gym that sparked the knife attack has led him to change government policy on allowing such events.
“Our booster club in that area, for that gym, rented it out to an individual who had a party there who was not supposed to be selling alcohol,” McInnis said. “For the rest of my term anyway, all of the rentals that our booster clubs enter into will now come straight through the parish president's office.”
According to a police report of the incident, a sheriff's deputy is usually hired for security at these types of parties, but an event organizer told a deputy that “he didn’t have a detail deputy because it was too late to get one.”
In addition to the presence of alcohol, the report states that as a deputy secured the scene, “the strong odor of burnt marijuana could be smelled emitting from inside the gym.”
“I really do believe that this was an isolated incident,” McInnis said. “I don't even believe that the booster club knew what was going on, and that's another problem. They need to supervise these events when they rent these facilities.”
McInnis said he has already personally approved one event: a grade-school birthday party.
Wickem was released from the hospital and booked into St. Bernard Parish jail, where she is being held on a bail of $500,000. Attempts to contact her defense attorney were unsuccessful.
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