Four girls ages 12 to 14 have been charged with the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl at a Louisiana Walmart, which was live-streamed on social media.
Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputies were called around 7:30 p.m. to the Lake Charles store, where they found the girl suffering from at least one stab wound. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The preliminary investigation revealed that the five teens were involved in a fight in the store, at which time the victim was fatally wounded. The authorities have not yet revealed a motive for the attack, but think that the incident was started at a nearby cinema.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso said during a news conference Sunday that the girls had stolen the knives used in the crime from the Walmart where the fight took place. One of the girls was charged with second-degree murder. The other three were charged as principals to second-degree murder. The names of three of the girls were withheld because they are juveniles. The name of one of the 13-year-olds was initially released the night of the homicide because she was being sought by detectives. The teen, who appeared in the video to have committed the stabbing, was later taken into custody. All four girls are being held in a juvenile detention facility.
The sheriff said Sunday that the Facebook Live video of the killing helped detectives easily solve the case. “We have videos of everything that took place, and it’s very disturbing,” the sheriff said. “It truly is.” Footage of the fatal fight, which was recorded by one of the suspects, shows several girls standing in what appears to be the home section of the store, talking among themselves. The 13-year-old directly involved in the fight appears in a close-up as they await the arrival of the victim. When she approaches, the two girls begin cursing and fighting, swinging and punching at one another.
A few seconds later, as the other girls’ screams become frantic, blood drops fall to the floor. “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ,” the girl filming the fight cries as they all run for the doors. As the girls flee in a getaway car, one of them shouts that they “just stabbed somebody at Walmart” and added: “We just stabbed that b***h in her heart. We don’t give a f**k.” In a separate video segment shot as they were riding in the getaway car, a couple of the girls appear to disparage the victim. As they talk, they munch on Popsicles.
Saturday’s killing was the third homicide in Calcasieu Parish within a six-month period involving children, Mancuso said. The youngest child involved in one of the slayings was 11. The oldest was 16. “They come from all backgrounds, all races,” Mancuso said of the various suspects. “I just feel like we have a problem in our community that we’re going to have to face and address.” Mancuso said Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic has likely contributed to the increase in juvenile crime, but that it cannot be used as an excuse. Children are breaking the law and becoming violent, he said.
The sheriff focused the blame on parents, saying it was not a policing issue. “This is a parenting issue,” he said. “I’m asking you this tonight, for our parents to take control. They have to. We can’t do this. We can arrest them — we can do that aspect of it — but it won’t solve the problem.” Mancuso said parents who do not keep track of their children at night should start anticipating late-night phone calls and expensive court dates. He said everyone, from parents to members of the community, have to step up and get involved. “Let’s take control of our kids. All of us,” Mancuso said. “We can’t just let this happen.”
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CBS 47 JACKSONVILLE