Grad party shooting: Wanda’s Karaoke says establishment had been closed for months
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office said it could have easily turned into a tragedy. As students, parents, and police search for answers into what led to Sunday night’s shooting at a graduation party.
The incident left at least 7 people injured. However, it’s where the shooting took place that has sparked growing concerns.
The owner of Wanda’s Karaoke and Entertainment had been leasing the building on Highway 90 since 2017. Due to hard times, the business had to close and cease operations in December 2019.
“Around midnight, I got a call from my mother saying, we needed to get to the club because some kids got shot and I’m just in disbelief because it should not have been open. We haven’t been open in months,” said Owner Shawanda Reynaud.
The aftermath of the shooting can not only be seen, it can be felt.
“When those children were coming to get the stuff that they lost, I felt at peace. I prayed that nothing would happen to the ones that got hurt," said Wanda Reynaud. "When those kids were coming to get their stuff, they just wanted to talk.”
When Shawanda Reynaud opened Wanda’s Karaoke back in 2017, it was in dedication to her mother who lost her own son to gun violence.
“We understand from every point of view-- from a mother to a child-- you know her child getting killed and that’s my brother...I wouldn’t want anyone to harm my child," Shawanda said.
Being that the building had been closed to the general public since December, Reynaud says they were still paying some utilities at the property. She says they were not made aware of any events being held inside the establishment.
“The lady who owns the property gave her son something for his graduation as a reward," said Shawanda. "Even though she opened the building, I’m pretty sure she didn’t think that that would happen. At the end of the day, it’s about choices.”
Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory says when it comes to their investigation, everyone has a role to play.
“There were a lot of underage kids out there who should not have been there, which is a big concern for us," Guillory said. “Somebody has to step up and take responsibility for this.”
Right now, Guillory says the verdict is still out as to if the party violated the state’s order for establishments to have no more than 25 percent capacity.
“I don’t know what the square footage of the building is or what the occupancy was but what I can tell you at some point the person who owns the building could lose their occupational license for violation of the governor’s order..however, that’s up to the state," Guillory said.
Having dealt with their own loss due to gun violence, Wanda Reynaud says she’s just grateful that those in attendance are still here to tell their story.
“I’m for the children, I don’t care about this other stuff, I’m for the children," Wanda said. “This situation brings back too much pain to even want to open the business back up.”
Reynaud has no plans to reopen the karaoke bar after the investigation is over. No word on what plans the property owner has at this time.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office suspects multiple guns and shooters were involved and urges anyone with more information to come forward.
According to the Sherrif’s Office Investigation:
Two 15-year-old females suffered from non-life threatening injuries from a gunshot wound; one to the leg and one to the buttocks. Three females, ages 15, 16 and 17, were grazed by bullets. A 15-year-old female and 18-year-old male suffered minor injuries during the panic that ensued after the shooting began.
After speaking with numerous witnesses detectives learned Devin L. Levier, 17, was responsible for the shooting. Levier suffered major, but non-life threatening injuries resulting from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Mary M. Brignac, 23, brought Levier to the hospital. Upon searching the car Brignac was in possession of, deputies located a semi-automatic pistol, which had been previously reported stolen through the Lake Charles Police Department. Brignac was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center.
Upon Levier’s release from the hospital he will be arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with illegal use of a weapon; illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile; aggravated 2nd-degree battery; and aggravated assault with a firearm.
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