Washington's Family On Standby For Answers

January 7, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

Funeral arrangements for Westlake Mayor-Elect Gerald "Wash" Washington are still pending as the investigation into his untimely death continues. As of Sunday afternoon, Washington's body was still in Baton Rouge undergoing a second autopsy while his family remains on standby for answers.

"As far as we know the only thing that they have brought us up to date with is that a second autopsy is being performed in East Baton Rouge Parish," said Geroski Washington.

Gerald Washington's body was found around 9:49 p.m. December 30th in the parking lot of the Old Mossville High School on Old Spanish Trail. Washington's son Geroski says the family requested Louisiana State Police take over the investigation after the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office concluded his father's death a suicide.

"I think the family wants answers now and I can't give them answers no other than what the facts show us," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso, at a press conference held Tuesday January 2nd.

According to the Calcasieu Sheriff's and Coroner's Office, Washington died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. The family feels the investigation was rushed and not thorough enough to prove those findings. "From what I've reviewed in the crime pictures and from talking with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department it seems like an assassination. That's what it seems like to me," said Geroski.

But who would want to see Gerald Washington dead? Washington was Westlake's first elected black mayor -- overwhelmingly voted in by white supporters. "It's certain individuals in the city of Westlake who want to keep the control and keep the forefront of the city going a certain direction. I would not put this as a race issue, it's more of a greed and power issue," said Geroski.

Despite rumors surrounding his father's death, Geroski is certain under no circumstances would his father commit suicide. "My father has found several people in positions who would commit suicide, but he has always uplifted them. He would say, 'tomorrow is another day...if you do this today -- what about tomorrow?' And that's why this is just so hard for the community, his fellow employees to believe that he would do something of this nature," said Geroski.

The Washington family says they expect an update from State Police some time tomorrow, and say if they have to they are prepared to go even further in their search for answers. They say they have already contacted the Congressional Black Caucus, the Justice Department and the FBI.