Residents take up firearms in Country Aire - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Residents take up firearms in Country Aire

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Residents in one Lake Charles neighborhood say they respect law enforcement but feel authorities could be doing more to deter crime. It's why many are taking matters into their own hands.

But they don't want to be labeled vigilantes. Instead, they hope deputies will do more to help them fight crime in their neighborhood. 

In what appears to be a quiet neighborhood, residents in Country Aire say they see their fair share of crime.

A resident there for six years, Jennifer Barker says crime is one of the reasons she's moving out, "It's one of the key factors in me moving. I have to get my kids out of here."

But other residents are actively trying to cleanup the neighborhood.

Trey Gordon believes a neighborhood watch approach is important in deterring crime. It's why he normally openly carries his firearm.

But Wednesday wasn't an ordinary day.

"I hear screaming 'help help'," said Gordon.

That's when Gordon says he saw a man with a knife attacking a teenager.

"At that time I drew my weapon and told him to put down the knife," explained Gordon.

But that's when things got hairy.

"Not only was I handcuffed, I was placed in the back of a cop car for 30 minutes," said Gordon.

Gordon believes Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputies used 'excessive' force because when they arrived, the situation was over. Plus he says, "The one deputy told me that because I was arguing my rights, that I was 'pissing him off' that he was going to detain me."

But Sheriff Tony Mancuso says he sees nothing wrong with what happened.

"I think officers went out there and did what they were suppose to do," explained Mancuso.

Mancuso says they got a call about a man with a knife and a man with a gun. In a situation like that, he says the officers and residents safety is paramount, which is why Gordon was detained.

"In this particular case last night, after we deciphered he was not a convicted felon we sent him on his way. Simple as that. But that is our job," explained Mancuso.

While not against open carrying, Mancuso does caution citizens about the consequences, "If they're going to do that, one of the consequences may be that somebody could call in and say 'hey there's a suspicious person with a weapon' and we have an obligation to go check it out," said Mancuso.

No injuries happened, but Gordon says if he hadn't had his firearm, things may have ended differently.

Gordon says he met with Internal Affairs at the Sheriff's office Wednesday and hopes the issue can be resolved without legal action.

Property management of Country Aire also responded with an emailed statement that reads: "As the Property Manager of Country Aire I would like to let it be know that although this was an isolated incident between two residents and the third intervening, we take this and all incidents of this nature seriously. Since we began managing the property, we have and continue to do things to improve the quality of life and the safety of our residents.  Upon coming on to manage the community we immediately implemented Neighborhood Watch meetings and work hand in hand with the Sheriff's Department for additional patrols and ideas on how to lower crime. We have made many strides in cleaning up our community and have to date brought in 100 new homes and made many community improvements. We have and will continue to remove any residents who do not comply with our established safety policies, and especially those such as the ones mentioned in your story, who threaten the safety of other residents. We currently have off duty officers hired to make additional patrols along with those already provided by our local Sheriff's Department. Based on your news story we will step up our efforts to continue to improve and to provide a safe environment for our residents."

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.


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