Lake Charles man accused of escaping custody and causing police search along Lake St.

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 8:22 AM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2023 at 8:37 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles man has been arrested following a police search along Lake Street yesterday evening, Monday, May 29, according to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Spokeswoman Kayla Vincent said around 5:30 p.m. deputies that were working an off-duty security detail at a local casino were informed that there was a person on the beach who may have been in possession of a concealed weapon.

Upon taking the suspect into custody, he was identified at Kwest D. Whitfield, 23, and had a pistol in his front right pocket that had been wrapped in a small cloth. Whitfield was arrested for the illegal carrying of a weapon and being drunk in public.

However, around 8 p.m., while waiting for transport to the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center, Witfield escaped police custody while still in handcuffs. The Sheriff’s Office K-9 Division, Marine Division, and Air 1 responded by conducting a search around homes in the neighborhoods south of I-210 along Lake Street.

The search caused concern for neighbors in the area like Ramona and Robert Coco.

“Most of the neighbors are quiet and we don’t have any police generally parked in our neighborhood searching for people so it was rather unusual,” Ramona said.

The couple lives on Fair Oaks Road, off of Lake Street, on Monday night they noticed police in their neighborhood.

“I looked out and saw a sheriff’s department van parked across the street with the sheriff deputy outside the van and so I though it was a little strange,” Ramona said. “I looked down the street and there were blue flashing lights.”

“The deputies said they were looking for an escapee in a gray hoodie and he was hand cuffed,” Robert said.

A search of land, water and many noticing a plane in the sky. Flightaware shows the sheriff’s office plane circled for more than two hours. CPSO said this was standard protocol for someone escaping custody.

“It was, you know, not our normal action around here,” Ramona said.

Authorities say Whitfield was found and arrested in the area of W. Sale Road and Canal Street. just after midnight.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says Whitfield had no prior criminal history and has been booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center for the illegal carrying of a firearm, being drunk in public, escape, and theft under $1,000. His bond was set at $18,500 by Judge Tony Fazzio.