Shot fired during road rage incident Wednesday

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:54 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A road rage incident Wednesday morning is believed to have preceded a suicide at a local car dealership, authorities said.

At least one shot was fired during the road rage incident near the Gerstner Memorial and McNeese Farm Road, according to Deputy Chief Franklin Fondel, with the Lake Charles Police Department. Fondel said police were called to a complaint of a vehicle being struck by gunfire at 10:19 a.m.

It is currently believed the man who fired the shot then went to Lake Charles Toyota, where he worked, and committed suicide, Fondel said. The investigation continues.

KPLC does not typically identify suicide victims, except for certain circumstances, including incidents in public places, or in this case, a shooting involving another victim.

Lake Charles Toyota General Manager Corey Tarver released the following statement:

Yesterday a terrible tragedy befell our Lake Charles Toyota Family. A staff member in our Make-Ready Department, River Waldrop (previously known to many of us as Bryce), took his own life here at our facility. No one else from our dealership was involved, or ever in any danger. The Lake Charles Police were already nearby investigating an apparently related incident and were on the scene guaranteeing everyone’s safety practically immediately.

Our hearts are broken for River’s family, especially his father Scott who is also a long-time member of our team and a close personal friend of our family. We don’t know the personal struggles River may have been facing, but we were blessed to know him and to have him as a member of our team. Now our primary responsibility is to those closest to him. We are pouring every resource possible into caring for Scott, the rest of River’s family, and our other staff members who have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy. We ask for your compassion and discretion in allowing everyone affected to have as much privacy as possible during this difficult time.

We are allowing each member of our staff to respond to this in their own way, and to return to work in a manner and at a pace that is right for them, but we have a large and tightly knit team who have demonstrated great willingness in the past to share each other’s burdens and help each other through trying times. We do not anticipate any future interruption of the services we enjoy providing to our customers every day.

We are depending on resources provided by Family & Youth Counseling Agency to help our Lake Charles Toyota Family navigate this tragedy. If you or anyone you know is dealing with mental health struggles we strongly encourage you to reach out to them at (337) 436-9533.

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